The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have called for urgent government action to remove barriers to abortion access in Ireland, on the fifth anniversary of the referendum which reversed the constitutional ban on abortion.
USI are demanding the implementation of recommendations made in an independent review which was published last month.
USI Vice President for Campaigns Ross Boyd said: “We are calling on government to treat abortion as a healthcare issue and not be influenced on policy by pressure from external groups.”
The review, led by barrister Marie O’Shea, recommends diverting additional funding per-patient to hospitals who provide abortion services, expanding the eligibility of health professionals who can provide abortions, and legally preventing healthcare workers from providing misleading information.
The review also recommends that the mandatory three-day wait period for those seeking abortions be made optional.
“Today, we are joining in calls for the recommendations of the independent review to be implemented,” Boyd said.
“Five years on from Repeal, it is not okay that many women and pregnant people are being forced to travel to access terminations on medical grounds.”
USI has also called for the Irish government to follow the example of the North, where safe access zones were introduced earlier this month.
“Abortion should also be available at all healthcare trusts in Northern Ireland and there should be an all-island approach to abortion care for anyone who needs these vital services.”
USI and local students unions played a significant role in the Repeal the 8th campaign in 2018. Trinity College Dublin Students Union (TCDSU) spent over €20,000 on campaigning in the run up to the referendum.
Other groups have marked the anniversary of the referendum, while calling for greater access to abortion services.
In a statement on Twitter, Trans & Intersex Pride Dublin said: “On this 5 year anniversary of Repeal, we should celebrate the fantastic work of women, young people, LGBTQ+ people, and workers who fought to make abortion rights a reality in Ireland.”
“It was mass protests, stalls, leafleting, and canvassing that won us the referendum,” they added.
The group called on people to join a protest outside the Dáil at 6pm in support of People Before Profit’s bill which proposes to end the three-day waiting period, allow for abortions after 12 weeks, and the removal of the 28-day mortality clause for pregnancies with fatal foetal anomalies.