FRIDAY, 8TH JUNE 2018
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) says concerns voiced by the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) over the availability of crisis pregnancy counselling are unfounded.
Maura Leahy, IFPA Director of Counselling, said: "A national crisis pregnancy counselling service is in place and has been for many years. It’s funded by the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) and free for the women and girls who use the service. There is no waiting list to see a counsellor; anyone who needs the service will get an appointment within a matter of days."
The IFPA operates ten pregnancy counselling centres across the country, providing half the SHCPP-funded crisis pregnancy counselling in Ireland. Women can make an appointment directly by calling the IFPA helpline (1850 49 50 51) or can get a referral from their GPs.
"This is a specialist service, staffed by qualified and accredited counsellors who are experienced in crisis pregnancy and related issues," said Ms Leahy. "Most women facing crisis pregnancy find that one counselling appointment is sufficient to enable them to make the best decision for them in their circumstances. We provide non-directive counselling and our counsellors support a woman’s own decision in all cases, whether that decision is to continue or to end the pregnancy. These services and supports will continue when abortion care becomes available in Ireland."