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EU urged to investigate offers of 'abortion reversals'

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Accountability calls: Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald

Accountability calls: Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald

Accountability calls: Fine Gael MEP Frances Fitzgerald

There have been calls for groups helping Irish doctors to offer unproven "abortion reversals" to be investigated, after it emerged the US anti-abortion tactic is being used in Ireland.

It has emerged that anti-abortion campaigners are preparing to push for Irish women to be required to be told about "abortion reversal", despite the fact the HSE has said there is no such thing.

The Irish Independent has reported that Dr Fiona O'Hanlon, a Cavan-based GP who is a member of Doctors for Life, offered to prescribe progesterone to a journalist posing as a woman who was seeking to undo a medical termination.

Doctors for Life has been working with Heartbeat International, an anti-abortion group based in Ohio, to promote "abortion reversal". The HSE said "there is no such thing as 'abortion reversal'".

Heartbeat International has been criticised by the European Parliament's rapporteur on sexual and reproductive rights and health for its work with groups in countries, including Italy and Ireland.

Frances Fitzgerald, the Fine Gael MEP and the European Parliament's shadow rapporteur on sexual and reproductive rights and health, said she believed the EU should be monitoring groups like Heartbeat International.

"Protection of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, are core EU values and anyone who violates them must be held accountable," she said.

"It seems that these occurrences and this organisation should be investigated by the authorities."

In Ireland, a termination under 12 weeks' gestation can be done by taking two drugs, misoprostol and mifepristone.

Anti-abortion activists claim that taking progesterone after the first pill can reverse a termination.

In the US, a number of states have a legal requirement for doctors to tell women about "abortion reversal".

Letters sent to supporters of the Life Institute, the Irish anti-abortion campaign group, said the institute is preparing to "demand" the Government informs women "that their abortion can be reversed".

Irish Independent