March for Life: Voters urged to consider where parties stand on abortion ahead of upcoming elections

Parliamentary answers suggest number of terminations being carried out in State ‘soaring’, campaigner Eilís Mulroy claims

Voters should consider where political parties stand on abortion as they go to polling stations in the coming months, the March for Life has heard.

The annual anti-abortion event took place in Dublin on Monday at a time when the Government has been accused of stalling on what to do with recommendations made following an independent review of the State’s abortion laws.

Ministers are to discuss a new options paper for abortion law reform, but senior sources have indicated that further change is unlikely before the next general election, which has to be held before the end of March.

The local and European elections are set to take place in early June and Eilís Mulroy, of the Pro Life Campaign, told those who gathered at Molesworth Street for the demonstration that the group would be publishing a “comprehensive voter guide” in the coming weeks.


She said this would “serve as an invaluable guide to pro-life voters when deciding how to cast their vote in the upcoming elections”.

Ms Mulroy also claimed that the number of terminations being carried out in Ireland is “soaring” based on recent answers to parliamentary questions regarding reimbursements made to abortion providers this year.

She described this as “devastating” and said efforts must be made between now and election day to encourage people to “think pro-life” before they vote.

A total of 8,156 terminations of pregnancy were carried out in 2022 under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. This compared with 4,577 and 6,577 respectively in 2021 and 2020, when major Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were in effect.

Abortion became legal in Ireland following a referendum in 2018 which saw voters support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. Legislation was introduced permitting terminations of pregnancy from the start of 2019.

A review of the abortion legislation was mandated in the legislation and barrister Marie O’Shea was commissioned by the Department of Health in 2022 to conduct it. Published in April of last year, the review made a number of findings including that service provision was unevenly spread around the country with some regions, particularly in the west and southeast, having little to no access.

It recommended the decriminalisation of doctors, the removal of the mandatory three-day waiting period to access termination medication, and the introduction of a statutory obligation on healthcare workers to refrain from providing misleading information.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly continues to consider the review ahead of presenting final proposals to the Cabinet.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has insisted that any proposals to change Ireland’s abortion laws must be given “careful consideration”. He has said examination of Ms O’Shea’s recommendations needs to be treated with the “same sensitivity” as the debate around the Eighth Amendment referendum.

Mr Harris has said he wants to “respect” the diversity of views on the issue and “bring forth consensus”. – Additional reporting: PA