Simon Harris confirms that abortion services in Ireland will be free
"Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free," the Health Minister confirmed.
Following the official signing of abortion legislation into law on Tuesday night – thereby formally removing the Eighth Amendment from the constitution – Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed that Ireland's imminent abortion services will be completely free.
Harris confirmed this news to reporters at the opening of the new primary care centre in Grangegorman, Dublin on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Breaking News, he said that even though abortion services are set to be provided in the near future it is essential "cost is not a barrier" to accessing the medical help.
He mentioned that the service will be free to:
- Ensure that the appropriate medical attention will be fully accessible to anyone who needs it.
- End the need to travel abroad for care.
- Prevent an influx of private abortion clinics into this country.
"Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free," the minister said on Wednesday.
"I've said from the start that I don't want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel.
"I want this to be provided as part of our health care system, our public health care system and part of our primary health care system."
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, following the lift of the constitutional ban, told the Dáil that legislation to facilitate abortion would be introduced during the first week in October.
Harris says that he expects such legislation will be enacted by 2019.
"Next week I will return to Cabinet for final approval of the bill that will legislate for termination of pregnancy in certain circumstances," he said today.
"I intend to introduce that in the Oireachtas in the first week of October, I hope we can pass it through the Oireachtas in the month of October and November."
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Ireland – whose members attended a session of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health to discuss the clinical guidelines being prepared in light of the impending introduction of abortion services – proposed a structure similar to the system currently in place in Scotland.
"We have looked to the example of Scotland, a country with a similar population to Ireland for data on TOP (Termination of Pregnancy) services," their statement reads.
"In Scotland, around 75% of TOPs are at less than 9 weeks and 91% of these are medically induced. Approximately 10% require hospital attendance because of complications. We believe that Irish figures should be in line with those of Scotland."
They also dismissed the idea of a proposed three-day waiting period as making "unwarranted assumptions about women's ability to make their own decisions."