Rotunda offers abortions to women outside catchment area
One of the country's main maternity hospitals has dropped restrictions and is now accepting women referred to it from outside its catchment area for medical abortion.
This is because of the demand for the service, it was confirmed yesterday.
The Rotunda Hospital had previously confined the service to women in its catchment area of north Dublin and its wider environs since the new abortion law was introduced in January.
But a spokesman confirmed yesterday the Rotunda took the decision to expand the service to women from outside its traditional catchment area "due to demand".
The hospital has also ended its condition which limited its medical abortions to up to 11 weeks of pregnancy.
This gestation limit by the hospital came under criticism from Health Minister Simon Harris who said: "The law is the law."
The law entitles a woman to a termination up to 12 weeks.
He said that the chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, would be contacting the hospital.
The National Maternity Hospital and the Coombe hospital continue to confine their medical abortion service to women from their catchment areas.
A spokesman for the Coombe said that it continues to only accept referrals for women from Kildare, west Wicklow, Dublin west, Dublin south city and Dublin south-west.
All women who want a medical abortion between nine and 12 weeks must go to a maternity hospital for the service after being referred by a GP.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said that there are now 10 maternity units and hospitals across the country providing medical abortions. Along with the three Dublin hospitals, the others include Mullingar Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, University Hospital Galway and Mayo Hospital.
The service is also provided by University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Cork University Maternity Hospital and University Hospital Waterford.
They also provide other terminations allowed under the law.