Tuesday, August 02, 2022

A Carlow councillor has hit out the lack of local access to abortions with St Luke’s Hospital not providing the service.

People Before Profit Carlow Cllr Adrienne Wallace who co-founded the first Repeal the 8th campaign groups in Kilkenny and Carlow believed there is a rural divide in the accessibility of abortion.

 

Cllr Wallace was reacting to the HSE figures that reveal that thirteen counties have fewer than 10 GPs providing the services. These counties include Kilkenny and Carlow. In addition, only 11 of the country’s 19 maternity units are currently providing termination of pregnancy services. St Luke’s in Kilkenny is one of the hospitals not providing the services.

“The recent attack on women’s rights in the US can serve as a stark reminder that the war on women is far from over. Here in Ireland a number of barriers still persist when it comes to local access to abortion. Four years on and St Luke’s maternity hospital is not yet providing any abortion services.

“It has been reported that where local hospitals do not provide abortions it has a ‘chilling effect’ on surrounding doctors. The statistics back this up, with less than 10 GPs in Kilkenny and Carlow providing terminations.”

Cllr Wallace added “It is understood hospitals that are not providing abortion services are either under-resourced, or may have only a small number of consultant obstetricians who all happen to conscientiously object to abortion.

“Leading obstetrician in St Luke’s, Prof Ray O’Sullivan, previously said in relation to the de facto abortion ban there that some of the difficulties centre around ‘issues of conscientious objection’. “So, although Kilkenny voted overwhelmingly for a YES vote and the people of Kilkenny and Carlow campaigned tirelessly for years for abortion services, we are still in a position where a small number of, mostly men, in powerful positions are able to deny the female population essential healthcare.”

Cllr Wallace concluded saying that the government had promised an additional obstetrician was to be appointed to St Luke’s Hospital as part of the rollout of abortion services to its maternity unit.

“It has however been three years and St Luke’s still does not provide terminations. Perhaps we didn’t shout loud enough when we said ‘Women Can’t Wait’ and this government needs another firm reminder that women’s healthcare must be properly resourced and accessible otherwise we are left with a rural divide.”

 

 

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