Four Counties Still Don’t Have Abortion Services Because No GPs Have Signed Up

Not a single GP in these counties signed up to offer the service.

There are still four counties in Ireland where a woman can’t get an abortion since the new service became active last week.

Not a single GP signed up to the service in Leitrim, Offaly, Carlow and Sligo, meaning women in these counties must travel elsewhere in Ireland to avail of the service.

It was reported on Friday that 200 out of roughly 3,500 practicing GPs in Ireland have agreed to perform medical abortions. 112 of these are opting to take referrals from the HSE’s MyOptions helpline, which is the main referral pathway for women seeking a termination. The rest will only deal with cases from their existing patient lists.

The HSE’s ‘My Options’ free helpline and website service provides information and support for those affected by crisis pregnancies. However, the HSE doesn’t provide details of the GPs or clinics who provide abortion on its website, but offers this information to women who request it through the helpline.

According to The Irish Times, the reason for this is that some doctors fear being targeted by anti-abortion protesters if they are identified as a provider of abortion services, particularly if they are the only provider in a particular area.

These concerns aren’t unjustified following a protest held outside a GP surgery in Galway city last Thursday.

Another anti-abortion protest is being held outside a hospital in Drogheda, Co.Louth this morning.

Since the new legislation has come into effect, GPs are legally entitled to provide medical (pills) abortions up to nine weeks, while abortions for women with a pregnancy between nine and 12 weeks, those with fatal foetal abnormalities and the other limited indications, are performed surgically by the maternity units.

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