Bríd Smith on abortion review: ‘When men want a vasectomy it’s just a given’

“When men want to have a vasectomy, or take viagra it’s just a given, but for women to control their reproductive health, it’s a big feckin’ deal,’ says People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.

The politician was speaking on The Irish Times Women’s Podcast about the long awaited independent review of the Irish abortion system, published this week by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

The review examined the experiences of women in Ireland using abortion services and assessed how providers are operating across the country.

It also included a list of recommendations, including the removal of the three-day waiting period and a direction for all 19 maternity hospitals to be involved in service provision. As it stands, only 11 of Ireland’s maternity hospitals are providing abortion care.


In reaction to comments made last week by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, where he said he would be “reluctant and uncomfortable” to make any major changes to the legislation on abortions, Smith says, “please get back on the bus, the journey is not over, we need you to come with us, because the evidence has shown us that this is not full and comprehensive health provision for women”.

“Two out of every five women who had a fatal foetal anomaly pregnancy had to travel to have an abortion, that’s shocking,” she says.

Appealing to her colleagues in the Dáil to take action on foot of the many recommendations she says, “men need to stop thinking about themselves and their own backyard, and to think about the health needs of women”.

Also joining the discussion with podcast presenter Róisín Ingle, was Irish Times Political Correspondent Jennifer Bray, who talks through some of the key findings from the review.

You can listen back to this conversation in the player above, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan is an audio producer at The Irish Times