Press releases

We are every woman

[Brussels, 18 January 2018]


As the report by the Irish Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment will continue to be discussed in the Dáil today (18 January), the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the platform representing women’s organisations throughout the EU, is calling on the Irish Government to support the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment. These recommendations would bring Ireland’s abortion laws in line with the majority of European Union Member States.

Joanna Maycock, Secretary General of the EWL, said, “All EU countries, including Ireland, should be leading the way on ensuring women receive the full range of quality sexual and reproductive healthcare they need. At a time when these rights are under threat in several EU Member States, women across Europe look to Ireland to show leadership and courage to change. It is clear from the extensive work carried out by the European Women’s Lobby’s Irish member the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), that the Irish people are ready for change and many accept abortion as a necessary element of women’s healthcare. They understand that abortion care needs to be one of the options available to all pregnant women and girls in Ireland. For these reasons they see the need to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution.”

The Joint Oireachtas Committee has managed to produce a model for the future that acknowledges the realities, concerns and responsibilities of women, girls and families in Ireland. The recommendations by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment provide a way forward which is clearly centred on the healthcare needs of women and girls. This includes a restricted period in early pregnancy, where a woman who needs an abortion can access care. During this period, each woman’s reason for ending her pregnancy will be considered and doctor-patient confidentiality will be protected. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment and the Citizens’ Assembly showed that members reached their conclusions after carefully reviewing the medical evidence and had the opportunity to discuss and debate all issues. This included the widespread use of the abortion pill in early pregnancy in Ireland without medical supervision, and the need to make the option of an abortion available to women who have become pregnant as a result of rape in a way that protects her safety and dignity.

The NWCI has developed the Every Woman healthcare model for affordable, accessible healthcare options for all women and girls in Ireland. More information about Every Woman is available at:

The decision of the Irish government comes during a week where the European Women’s Lobby is deeply concerned about women’s humans rights in Poland. The European Women’s lobby is dismayed to see that the citizens’ initiative initiated by women organisations to improve women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights has been rejected by the Polish Parliament Committee. The EWL urges the Polish Government to listen to the demands of the thousands of women and men who have been demonstrating tirelessly since 2016 all over the country and across the European Union (EU) supporting women’s human rights. These actions, expressing the opinion of the population of Europe and reflecting the democratic functioning of the EU, cannot be ignored any longer in any country of the EU.

Note to editors:

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) is the leading national women’s membership organisation seeking equality between women and men, founded in 1973. NWCI represents over 180 member groups as well as a growing number of individual members from a diversity of backgrounds, sectors and locations.

Contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI)
Tel. + 353 (0)1 679 0100
Mobile + 353 (0)85 858 9104

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) is the largest umbrella organisation of women’s associations in the European Union (EU), working to promote women’s rights and equality between women and men. EWL membership extends to organisations in all 28 EU Member States and three of the candidate countries, as well as to 20 European-wide organisations, representing a total of more than 2000 associations.

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