The vast majority of women who have abortions, do so before 12 weeks. A women who has made the personal decision to have an abortion, will do so as early possible. Pregnancy is dated from the beginning of the menstrual cycle, so a woman is usually several weeks pregnant before she finds out. For women with irregular cycles or women approaching menopause, it may be even later. It’s important that a woman has time to access support, consider her options and make her decision without undue pressure.
Allowing a woman who has been raped up to 12 weeks in order to access an abortion will provide her with the time and support she needs. This was the view of the Joint Oireachtas Committee (JOC) who after hearing extensive evidence from the legal and medical experts who addressed it, came to the view that allowing for abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is the most compassionate, reasonable and straightforward way to support women and girls who need to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape.
A ‘rape ground’ would also force a doctor into the role of assessing the truthfulness of a claim of rape, even though there is no clinical test for rape and a doctor’s role is to provide medical care, not to assess allegations of serious criminal behaviour.
Voting YES to remove the 8th Amendment will allow laws to be put in place to provide safe medical care within the Irish health system.