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Ban on abortion referrals would need overhaul

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Information on abortion clinics and the referral of women who want to terminate their pregnancy will have to be overhauled if abortion laws are widened.

Currently, women in crisis pregnancy receive non-directive counselling, outlining all options available to them including keeping the baby, adoption or abortion. If a woman opts for abortion the counsellor - who may be a doctor - can provide only a list of clinics.

It is an offence to make an appointment for a woman for the termination.

They cannot refer the woman to a clinic.

This legislation will need to be changed if unrestricted abortion is allowed within 12 weeks and in other limited circumstances. The unravelling of this legislation, which was controversial in its introduction more than 20 years ago, is one example of the major work ahead if abortion legislation is liberalised.

The new law would have wide-ranging implications not just for health staff but also the kind of facilities, scans and after care that would be available.

Irish Independent