Safe Ireland Urges Yes Vote on May 25th

Choice at home, close to local specialist dv services is the only safe option for women living in abusive relationships.

Safe Ireland, the national social change agency working to end domestic violence, today said that a yes vote this Friday is the only way to ensure that women living with domestic violence can access safe services when pregnancy is used as a tool of control and abuse.

The organisation which represents 40 domestic violence services across the country, said it was concerned that groups advocating a no vote were incorrectly, and without any evidence, saying that access to abortion in Ireland would put more women at risk in abusive relationships.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, said Sharon O’Halloran, CEO of Safe Ireland.

“The eighth amendment is inherently unsafe and presents a huge risk for women living with domestic violence,” she said. “The only way to make Ireland a safer country for women is to ensure that there is access to safe, controlled and wrap-around abortion services and supports here at home.”

“If a woman is being forced to have an abortion by a controlling or abusive partner it is going to be far safer for her to have interaction with abortion services here in Ireland rather than travelling overseas,” she continued. “Doctors and nurses here, who may suspect or are told about coercion through pregnancy, can get in touch with specialist domestic violence services here if that is what the patient wants. This essential wrap-around approach is not going to happen if a woman has to go to another jurisdiction, miles from her family, miles from her community and miles from the services that can help her here.”

O’Halloran also said that it was critical to remember that the majority of rape in Ireland occurs within the home, often within violent intimate relationships. She said that currently, if a woman living under coercion and abuse becomes pregnant through rape or if she does not want to proceed with a pregnancy, she has little or no safe options open to her under current provisions.

“How can you travel if your movements and finances are being controlled? How can you risk disclosing that you don’t want to proceed with a pregnancy, even if you have been raped, if you are already under daily violent threat and you are in an overseas environment?” she said.

“It is crucial that we have a sensitive, sensible and safe abortion policy that allows a woman – any woman, anywhere – to, firstly, be supported to decide what she wants to do, and then, if she chooses to terminate her pregnancy, to ensure that she is linked into safe and legal services in her own country.”

For more information contact:

Edel Hackett, Tel: 087-2935207