No More Shame Concerned Over GSD's Position On Abortion

No More Shame have expressed concern over the GSD's position on access to abortion on the grounds of risk to mental health.

A statement from No More Shame follows below:

No More Shame notes the publication of all three party manifestos and policies on women’s reproductive health. There is much to commend with regard to better provision in resources generally for women which can only be a positive move for women, couples and families alike. A revised update for school education on all matters sexual health for youngsters is also long overdue but very welcome in the interest of empowering young people with factual information and the tools to protect themselves. 

We are, however, concerned to see that no provision has been made  for access to abortion on the grounds of risk to mental health by the GSD. We would like to think that this has been an oversight on their part, given the high prominence that has been given to mental health in the manifesto itself, and would be grateful for some clarification on this. Failing this clarification we would have to  assume that the party sees no situation where mental health considerations would be grounds for an abortion in any instance. In addition we would also ask what mechanism they propose to cater for rape and incest if not under mental health. Are they possibly suggesting a verification of the rape itself that might require reporting, invasive physical assessments and prosecution of a rapist? And how long would such a verification process take given the short time frame open for an abortion?

U.N. Treaty Monitoring Bodies have recognized that access to abortion in cases of rape should not require additional evidentiary burdens, such as medical certification, judicial authorization, or a guilty verdict.  The Committee against Torture for example, found that, in some cases, requirements that women obtain judicial authorization before accessing an abortion may constitute an “insurmountable obstacle” to accessing abortion, and that when denial of such judicial authorization occurs for victims of rape, it may constitute torture or ill-treatment.

We would also reiterate, in principle, that whilst we support the Act coming into effect we do not agree with this being by way of referendum. Matters of human rights and access to healthcare should not be subject to referenda. We would urge people to read all three manifestos and use their vote wisely supporting parties and policies that empower women and advance full reproductive rights.