In solidarity with Repeal the 8th! Referendum in Ireland on May 25th!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 blog Share

Women Help Women welcomes the announcement of the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment in the Irish Constitution. We call on Irish citizens to vote yes on May 25th. Women Help Women proudly supports the right of women in Ireland to have a safe abortion, and hope that a day will come when women in Ireland no longer need to depend on our help to access abortion services.

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In 2017, 878 women from the Republic of Ireland received our help, an increase of 190% as compared to 2016. In 2018 the number of women from Ireland seeking our services continues to increase. In the first quarter of 2018, WHW has helped 323 women access a medical abortion, a 90% increase over the same period last year.

Requests for help continue to come from every corner of the country, urban and rural. In 2017, we supported women from every county in Ireland to access our services.  The need for abortion in Ireland impacts women and their families throughout the Republic, regardless of country, income or age.

In addition to providing access to medical abortion pills, Women Help Women provides evidence-based information and continuous support before, during and after the abortion. We receive many inquiries about how to have a safe self-managed abortion at home but women in Ireland also reach out to us with questions about how to travel to access abortion services and what practical supports are available to them. In the first quarter of 2018, we have already received over 2800 emails from Ireland seeking help and advice. In 2017 we received over 7500 emails from Ireland.  We try to provide all those who contact our service with the care, compassion and support that they are unable to access at home.  We hope that with the Repeal of the 8th, Ireland will start to move forward to provide this compassionate care with Irish health services, where it belongs.

Women Help Women facilitates access to abortion pills for individuals living in countries where safe, legal abortion services are not available. Abortion pills are safe and effective if proper information is provided on how to take them.  Women who use our service are counseled about how to use the pills, what to expect, and that they cannot use the pills unless they have access to medical care in the rare case of a complication. By providing counselling, information, support and high-quality medication, we reduce the risks faced by women who have no safe abortion options in their own country. 

Unsafe abortion is one of the leading international causes of maternal mortality.  An estimated 22,500 - 44,000 women die each year due to unsafe abortion, which accounts for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. Restrictive laws do not cause any reduction in the amount of abortions performed, they simply mean that women with the means to travel have a greater chance of having a safe abortion while those with low incomes have few safe options and may risk their health and lives with unsafe methods.  Prohibition of abortion also means that those who may need to consult a doctor or medical professional are afraid to do so. We are aware that the criminalisation and stigmatization of abortion does mean that women in Ireland can be reluctant to attend health services for post abortion care.

Women Help Women will continue to care for those in Ireland who need our help until early termination of pregnancy can be accessed through the Irish health services. We hope the Irish people will vote yes in their upcoming referendum so that we can join you in celebrating a day when Irish women no longer rely on our services to have access to care.  Until then, Women Help Women will help every woman with an unwanted pregnancy who needs us.