HSE yet to sign off on vital supports for medical abortion providers
The Irish Family Planning Association said it hopes to start providing a medical abortion service from Monday January 7 - but it is still waiting for sign off on vital supports from the HSE.
The centre is expected to be one the largest providers of abortions.
It said today it has completed its preparations for the introduction of abortion services.
It intends to begin providing abortion care at its clinics in Dublin City Centre and Tallaght on Monday January 7 “as long as the key elements of HSE services are finalised.”
IFPA Medical Director, Dr Caitriona Henchion, said: “Our abortion care service can only begin as planned if the medication and pregnancy tests are supplied on time, and the protocols for rhesus testing and the provision of anti-D are finalised. Most important is the referral pathway.
“Our clinics will be providing early medical abortions up to nine weeks’ gestation. Patients who have their first appointment with us and are between nine and 12 weeks pregnant will need to be referred for hospital care. We cannot arrange those first appointments until we are certain those referral pathways are in place.”
President Michael D Higgins signed the legislation into law yesterday and various legal instruments will be passed today to have it ready to be operational from January 1.
Niall Behan Chief Executive, said: “Preparing our abortion service has been the focus of our work since the referendum. We’re ready and we’re dedicated to providing abortion care to women in Ireland for the first time.”
Mr Behan said the IFPA was proud to be at the vanguard of the new services after campaigning for abortion rights for decades.
“The IFPA has been advocating for full reproductive healthcare in Ireland for 50 years,” he noted.
“The organisation was founded at a time when even basic contraception was illegal in this country. We’re now at a place where we can provide safe and legal abortion care for women and girls in Ireland and this is truly momentous. We’ve been working hard to ensure that we can deliver the best possible care.”
Mr Behan added: “This is an entirely new service, developed in the extremely tight timeframe set by the Minister for Health. The onus is on the Department of Health and the HSE to ensure that women who seek abortion care have timely access and don’t encounter any barriers.”
Mr Behan said: “Our free non-directive counselling service will be available for anyone who chooses to use it, at our ten counselling centres around the country. Our post-abortion care service will be available to our own patients and to women who have travelled for a termination.
“We will also continue to give support and information to women and girls who will need to travel abroad for care because they fall outside the provisions of the legislation.”