The report from the review into Ireland’s abortion law was released on Tuesday. It was immediately obvious from the 139-page document that its recommendations were extreme in nature, fulfilling the wish-list of many pro-abortion activists. The report presented a largely one-sided narrative of the abortion regime in Ireland, criticising the three-day waiting period and doctors who exercise freedom of conscience.
Considering the report was the work of a statutory government-backed review, the document unforgivably presented incorrect data findings. On page 6, the author claimed that between 1st January 2019 and 31st December 2022, there were approximately 17,820 abortions in the Republic. This figure is grossly inaccurate, and underrates the real number by 40%.
Its recommendation to scrap the three-day reflection period is based on faulty and limited research. It cited a limited study produced by the pro-abortion START Doctors group which examined a narrow sample of under 500 women and determined just 2% did not return for an abortion. However, the author failed to engage with publicly available and much more far-ranging statistics from the HSE which showed that 3,951 women did not ultimately proceed from the first to the final abortion appointment. Official national statistics show that 17% of women who made an initial appointment did not ultimately opt to have an abortion, showing how the 2% cited by the report is totally inaccurate. Irrespective of whether this was an oversight or not, it certainly undermines the credibility of this review and its radical calls.
The government is already split over the report’s recommendations. Green Party members of government have urged that the three-day wait should be accepted; whereas both Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar have expressed reticence about removing the three-day wait, considering it was a key promise of the 2018 referendum. However, the government has committed to “expanding” abortion to more hospitals and regions.
This rupture within the government over the contentious report is the result of the extent to which the review process was exploited by pro-abortion advocate groups to push an extreme agenda. It is of utmost importance for pro-life citizens to make their voices heard on this review and to demand that the government refuse to adopt the radical proposals which stem from this deeply flawed document.