16 January, 2024
Health Committee Report Acknowledges Inadequate Research in the Three Year Review Recommendations
“The government must take note of the concerns contained in the Health Committee’s report and shelve any plans to adopt more extreme laws” – Mulroy
The Oireachtas Health Committee report on the Three Year Review of Ireland’s abortion policy has now been released and is available on the Oireachtas website. The report differs substantially from a media report in November 2023 which suggested the Three Year Review’s “sweeping” recommendations would be accepted by the Oireachtas Health Committee as “an overall package”. Whilst a majority on the Committee still favours approving the recommendations, critically a number of members have expressed concerns with how the Three Year Review recommended removing the three-day waiting period without having used or provided proper evidence and the overall recommendations amounted to “a substantial departure from the proposals presented to the electorate before the May 2018 referendum.”
Responding to this, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:
“Media reports in November which suggested that the Health Committee’s report would uncritically sign off on the Three Year Review’s extreme changes failed to pan out. The official report acknowledged that some members believed research was either ‘not conducted or used’ to underline the Review’s proposal to remove the life-saving three-day waiting period. During the Health Committee hearing on 31 May, Ms O’Shea flatly acknowledged that the Review did not speak with any woman who, following the three-day waiting period, decided to proceed with their pregnancy. Clearly, the shapers of the Three-Year Review failed to unanimously persuade the Health Committee, and their lack of comprehensive research has now been acknowledged in the Health Committee’s report.
“Members of the Health Committee also raised the fact that ‘the recommendations entail a substantial departure from the proposals presented to the electorate before the May 2018 referendum’, which is included in its final report. This is undoubtedly the case, as the government made a firm contract with the electorate in the run up to the 2018 referendum in the form of presenting draft heads of bill for a prospective abortion law if Article 40.3.3. was removed. The Review is now essentially recognised by a portion of the Health Committee as a proposal that would totally undermine the promises of the 2018 referendum.
“These substantial and critical differences between the draft which was leaked to the media and the final version clearly illuminates considerable discomfort among members of the Health Committee about blindly signing off on the Three Year Review’s extreme proposals. The government must take note of the concerns contained in the Health Committee’s report and shelve any plans to adopt more extreme laws.”
You can read the final Health Committee Report here.