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Offaly abortion campaigners join March for Choice

Thursday, 27 September 2018

ABORTION campaigners from Offaly will take to the streets of Dublin on Saturday to ensure the Government delivers on its commitments after the referendum.
For the first time ever, members of Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) Offaly, will join the annual March for Choice from the Garden of Remembrance.
Tullamore woman Charlene Delaney, who campaigned for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, will participate in the march and insists it is necessary, despite the removal of the constitutional ban on abortion and statements from Health Minister Simon Harris that he will introduce legislation soon.
“One of the main reasons we're marching is to remind the Government of the overwhelming majority in favour of repealing the Eighth and to remind them that there are so many barriers that need to be addressed," said Ms Delaney.
She cited "financial" and "geographical" barriers to people accessing abortions and said "conscientous objections and the refusal of care" could mean some women will remain in crisis situations.
Ms Delaney said she was especially concerned about those who don't live near a maternity hospital, or who only have one GP in their area prepared to provide the abortion pill.
ARC Offaly is "completely opposed" to doctors who are insisting on their right not to refer a woman on to another GP.
“What would happen to a woman in an emergency situation?" she asked.
She said it was "clever" of some GP's to say they should have a choice in the matter but added: "At the end of the day they are medical experts, and not moral experts and they're role is to provide expertise and advice."
“At the end of the day, refusal of care, or referring on a patient, it doesn't deter anybody from procuring an abortion, it just makes them later and less safe."
Ms Delaney said abortion is "time sensitive" and "trying to travel around looking for somebody to take you on" would only cause unnecessary delays.
Though Minister Harris has also said there will be no charge for abortions, Ms Delaney insisted it will be those on lower incomes and those with disabilities who will be "disproportionately" if barriers are left in place.
“The care has to be accessible, it has to be patient-centred, it has to be evidence-based as well," she said.
Meanwhile, Cllr John Leahy, leader of the Renua party, which counts a pro-life position as one of its key policy pillars and which campaigned for retention of the Eighth Amendment, said there may have been protests at the Ploughing if people there knew President Michael D Higgins was going to sign the change to the constitution into law last week.
President Higgins was warmly received when he officially opened the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan last Tuesday afternoon.
He stayed at the site all day and it was learned later that on Tuesday evening he had signed the bill which will allow the Oireachtas to regulate the termination of pregnancies.
Cllr Leahy said he was not surprised the President had signed the provision. "He was a former Labour TD and Minister and we know what Labour were and what their opinion was in terms of the Eighth Amendment and they didn't hide it, they were for repeal," said Cllr Leahy.
“He was definitely following party lines from that point of view," he added, stating "he was looking at it no different from anyone else, there was a mandate given".
“There was an overwhelming result, which I never expected. He wasn't going to go against the majority of the people.
“Even though I might differ on the side of the argument I was on from a pro-life point of view, it is what it is and I never doubted in any shape or form that he was going to do what he done."
Cllr Leahy also said it was perhaps for the best that the President's intentions were not known before the Ploughing because it would have taken the "focus" away from his day in Screggan.
“All the protests in the world wasn't going to change it," the Renua leader commented.

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