Tuesday 17 September 2019

Surge in post-abortion counselling followed repeal campaign

Government call: Well Woman Centre chief executive Alison Begas. Photo: Damien Eagers
Government call: Well Woman Centre chief executive Alison Begas. Photo: Damien Eagers
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Women who had a termination of pregnancy 25 years ago or longer sought counselling after being affected by the 2018 abortion referendum, the annual report of the Dublin Well Woman Centre has revealed.

The centre saw a rise in women seeking post-termination counselling as the country was embroiled in the debate over the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Chief executive Alison Begas called on the Government to follow up on the pledge to provide fully State-funded contraception as part of the passing of the referendum.

There is a need to fund long-acting, reversible contraception, she said.

These have proven to be a much more reliable form of contraception than the pill, with evidence showing them to be at least 10 times more effective than any other form of reversible contraception.

Women of all ages whether they have had children or not can avail of these devices, the report pointed out.

The report also noted the surge in women having cervical screening in May last year as the CervicalCheck scandal raged, rising from around 600 tests a month to over 1,200.

As more women availed of the free tests more were referred on for further investigation, known as a colposcopy exam.

"The total number of colposcopy referrals increased from 597 in 2017 to 698 in 2018. There was a disproportionate increase in the number of colposcopy referrals in the 25-29 year age group.

"This may be partly explained by more young women having a first smear test."

The centre also found that the number of women testing positive for chlamydia, the sexually transmitted disease, fell last year.

This is despite the same volume of women seeking the test. Young women aged under 30 accounted for the majority of cases.

Irish Independent

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