-Marking two years since the repeal of the 8th amendment, IFPA announces additional supports so that women can access abortion care safely during the Covid19 pandemic, but highlights that the 2018 Act is flawed: not all women who need abortion care are eligible under the law
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is to be commended for the revised model of early abortion care that keeps face-to-face visits to the minimum while ensuring patient safety during the pandemic restrictions. That’s according to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).
The HSE has revised the model of care for early abortion for the duration of the pandemic so that medical appointments can be provided remotely. Those who need to access early abortion care need only enter a healthcare facility in exceptional circumstances, according to the HSE’s guidance document.
Speaking on the second anniversary of the 2018 referendum (May 25 2020), Niall Behan, IFPA CEO said: “The IFPA worked for many years to bring about the momentous change so that women can now access abortion care at home. The situation of our clients during restrictions —women and girls who experience unintended pregnancy or whose pregnancy has become a crisis—would be unthinkable if we hadn’t reformed the law.”
Mr Behan continued: “I commend the HSE’s and Government’s commitment to reproductive health: women have the same access to abortion care as before the pandemic, if they fall within the criteria for lawful abortion care under the 2018 Act.”
To support women and girls who are experiencing an unintended pregnancy or a pregnancy that has become a crisis during the pandemic, the IFPA has developed a series of videos and other online materials to assist women who need abortion care.
Niall Behan concluded by saying, “The law isn’t perfect: not all women who need abortion care are covered by the 2018 Act.
“But because we repealed the 8th, abortion care is available in Ireland to the vast majority of women and girls who need it. Because of the new model of care, that hasn’t changed during the pandemic.”
IFPA Medical Director, Dr Caitríona Henchion, said: “Getting healthcare over the phone is new to most people. We have put in extra supports so that our clients are well-prepared and comfortable about managing an abortion at home.
“A specialist pregnancy counsellor talks to each client before her medical appointments. We have developed an online Step-by-Step Guide to support women who are managing an early medical abortion at home.”
“We’ve created a series of four new YouTube videos that clients can watch at a place and time that suits them. They are subtitled so that women can watch with the sound on or off.”
The IFPA’s resources to support our clients during the pandemic are available on www.ifpa.ie.
Contact: Maeve Taylor, Director of Advocacy and Communications on (086) 7952167
Note to Editors
- The IFPA is Ireland’s leading sexual health provider. The organisation offers a comprehensive range of services which promote sexual health and support reproductive choice on a not-for-profit basis, and promotes the right of all people to comprehensive, dedicated and affordable sexual and reproductive health information and services.
- Abortion is regulated by the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
So long as a 3-day waiting period has elapsed, abortion care is lawful on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is also lawful for reasons of risk to a woman’s life or of serious harm to her health and in cases of fatal foetal anomaly. Abortion remains criminalised in all other cases. However, the criminal provisions do not apply to a woman in respect of her own pregnancy. Abortion is free to persons normally resident in Ireland.
- IFPA video series: Early Abortion Care with the IFPA during Covid19 online:
Supporting you through your care during Covid 19 pandemic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrQarH3ktDs&t=9s
Your medical consultations – what to expect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQ3rmyGQLIs&t=43s
Your home care pack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmn8EvC5is&t=7s
Medical abortion aftercare and supports: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx__M7ONQ1s
- Abortion care over the phone with the IFPA
- When a pregnant woman or girl contacts the clinic for abortion care, she is given appointment times for her telephone consultations. And one of our specialist pregnancy counsellors will also phone her and explain the way we are providing abortion care during Covid19. The client can talk to the counsellor about any concerns or worries relating to her unintended pregnancy and any supports she needs.
- The doctor will still need to see some women and girls in person, and some people will also need to be referred for an ultrasound scan or to complete their care in a hospital. The doctor will decide if this is necessary after taking a medical history and discussing the pregnancy with the client.
- Following the second medical consultation, the woman comes to the clinic later that day to collect a Home Care Pack, which contains the information, medications and contact phone numbers a woman needs to safely manage an early medical abortion at home.