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Yes voter in Irish Times: scrapping 3-day wait would be 'betrayal'

A letter in the Irish Times this week highlighted the likelihood that even many Yes voters would see the scarpping of the 3-day wait before abortion as a "betrayal". 

 The Irish Times published a letter by Margaret Lee from Tipperary this Tuesday, detailing the importance of retaining the 3-day wait -  a current requirement under Ireland’s abortion legislation, which requires women to undergo a period of reflection for 3 days before opting for an abortion.

“In reviewing legislation on abortion, members of the Oireachtas need to remember that the law cannot legislate for every possible situation but must serve the common good,” she began. “Therefore, I believe that retaining the three-day waiting period is important because it allows for a short period of reflection on the decision to terminate a life.”

“While some women may be discommoded, other may be saved from many years of regret,” she continued.

According to figures released by the HSE, around 1,500 women did not go through with an abortion after their initial consultation in 2021, thus showing that the 3-day waiting period gave women the chance to reflect and instead choose life for their baby.

Ms Lee continued in her letter to call for politicians to keep to the promises made during the 2018 referendum. “Many citizens who voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in 2018, or who may have not voted for this amendment to the Constitution in 1983, would feel betrayed by removing the three-day waiting period. I am one of them,” she said.

This comes as the pro-abortion lobby are calling to the 3-day waiting period of reflection to be scrapped from Ireland’s abortion legislation, despite politicians, including Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar, promising voters during the 2018 referendum that safeguards, such a 3-day wait, would be put in place under the proposed abortion legislation.

In a recent campaign to have the 3-day waiting period retained, Life Institute also called for politicians to keep their promise, especially as the HSE’s figures revealed that less abortions occurred after the 3-day wait.

"It would be reprehensible for the government to scrap the 3-day waiting period and take that time to think away from women," said Megan Ní Scealláin, spokeswoman for the Life Institute. "They would be dramatically increasing the abortion rate, and breaking the promise they made in 2018 to voters on abortion." 

Additionally, 100+ doctors, including top Obstetrician Dr Trevor Hayes, have said that the 3-day wait must be retained, asserting that having a short period of reflection is standard practice for a major medical procedure.

As Ms Lee rightly points out in her Irish Times letter, many people voted ‘yes’ with the assurance of such safeguards being in place, and thus the government must be held to the promises they made which ensured their ‘yes’ vote. Safeguards are necessary to avoid malpractice and ensure women are not being pushed into an abortion they do not want. Without this safeguard, many of those women could have had their abortions, which they later would have regretted. Furthermore, given that figures show that the 3-day wait has led to fewer abortions, it is vital that the government takes this into consideration, as surely no one wants more abortions in this country. 

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