Over 12,000 calls made to HSE helpline about unplanned pregnancies in first year of abortion services in Ireland

The Irish Sun

Julieann Corr

THERE were 12,080 calls made to the HSE helpline about unplanned pregnancies between January and the end of November 2019, estimate figures have revealed.

Data also shows that the MyOptions website was accessed over 331,000 times this year – in the first year of abortion services in Ireland.

Official figures regarding the operation of the service is set to be published during 2020. . .[Full text]

No one obliged to cooperate with ‘unjust’ NI abortion law – bishops

The Irish Catholic

Róise McGagh

Northern Ireland’s bishops have said new abortion laws in Northern Ireland are “unjust” and that no one is obliged to cooperate with them.

Currently there is a regulatory framework in place in the North that governs abortion provision until more permanent legislation is expected to be introduced in three months.

“The new regulatory framework in Northern Ireland should provide all health professionals including midwives, nurses and ancillary staff working in hospitals and other community settings with the right to refuse to participate in any aspect of the delivery of abortion services such as consultation, administration, preparation, in addition to the direct and intentional act of abortion itself,” the bishops said. They added this should include pharmacists. . .[Full text]

‘Considerable unwillingness’ to participate in medical abortions by Irish GPs — study

Irish Medical Times

Lloyd Mudiwa

There is a lack of training and a considerable level of unwillingness among Irish GPs to participate in the medical termination of pregnancy, a study, the first to look at the issue in Ireland, has concluded.

“There is a lack of training and considerable level of unwillingness to participate in this process among Irish GPs,” the research team stated in their research report.

“There is also a perceived lack of patient support services for women experiencing unwanted pregnancy. It is incumbent upon state and professional bodies to address these issues.” [Full text]

10% of GPs have signed up to provide abortion services, HSE confirm


Sarah Slater

Almost a year since abortion services were legalised in Ireland just over 300 GPs have agreed to carry out the procedure, according to new figures.

The procedure known as, Termination of Pregnancy (TOP), was signed into law, by President Michael D Higgins, and introduced on January 1 this year.

At the start of this month, 347 GPs had signed up to provide the service. There are 3,500 GPs nationwide, a third of whom are women. . . [Full text]

PDForra seeking conscientious objection rights

The Irish Examiner

Sean O’Riordan

The association representing the country’s frontline Defence Forces has taken a case to the Council of Europe to force the State to recognise the right of soldiers, sailors and aircrew to register as conscientious objectors.

PDForra, which represents 6,500 enlisted personnel, is leading the case on behalf of sister organisations in Denmark, Greece, Cyprus and the Netherlands. The Irish case has been lodged through Euromil, the umbrella body of European military representative associations, and argues that not recognising conscientious objection breaches Human Rights legislation. .. [Full text]

Contentious system is running smoothly south of the border

Belfast Telegraph

Eilish O’Regan

Abortion was among the most divisive issues in the Republic of Ireland for decades.

It was regarded as politically toxic with various governments relying on the courts to rule on when termination of pregnancy be permitted or prohibited.

All the while it was a daily reality. Thousands of women from the 26 counties were going to the UK for terminations annually – over 3,000 in 2017. There was growing use of online abortion pills although they were illegal.

But since January this year, and the triggering of new legislation, abortion has been legally available in most counties in the South, at a level which only a few years ago many would have regarded as “liberal”.

It has not been without some controversy, but everyone is surprised by how relatively smoothly it is running. . . [Full text]

Varadkar invokes St John Henry Newman in conscience debate

Taoiseach was responding to Labour leader’s call for end to clerics ‘instructing’ politicians

The Irish Times

Marie O’Halloran

Catholic politicians should look to the comments of newly canonised Saint John Henry Newman when considering issues of conscience, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Mr Varadkar made his remarks after Labour leader Brendan Howlin highlighted comments by Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin last month at the Kennedy Summer School.

Archbishop Martin said Catholic politicians in particular had a responsibility to support laws that “uphold the dignity of every person from conception to death”. He also cautioned against politicians leading “parallel lives compartmentalised in to spiritual and secular spheres”.

Mr Howlin suggested that this idea of Catholic politicians “has the potential to be deeply problematic” as Irish society becomes more pluralist and multicultural. . .[Full text]

Women forced to travel as only 10 out of 19 maternity units provide full abortion service

Irish Independent

Eilish O’Regan

Just half of the country’s 19 maternity units are providing a full abortion service, it emerged yesterday.

It means that some women are more likely to have to travel for the service, despite the new abortion law coming into effect in January.

The HSE said that “work is ongoing with hospital groups to roll out the service in additional maternity hospitals”.

However, a spokeswoman said it has not received any formal complaints about women travelling a long distance or failure to get a referral. . . [Full text]

Majority of people support legalising assisted suicide in Ireland

Campaigners have called for changes to the Irish law on assisted dying.


Dominic McGrath

A MAJORITY OF Irish people believe that assisted suicide should be legalised in Ireland.

The latest Amárach/Claire Byrne Live poll for TheJournal.ie found that 55% of people think that assisted suicide should be legal in Ireland. 

The poll found that 22% opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide, while 23% said they didn’t know. . .[Full text]

Two counties still without any GPs offering abortion as just 13pc sign up to the service

Irish Independent

Cormac McQuin

Just 13pc of GPs have signed up to provide abortion services and there are still two counties where there are no family doctors offering terminations.

The latest figures show that there are now 337 GPs around the country who have signed the contract to provide the service. . . [Full text]