Monday 22 January 2018

Labour Party propose bill to regulate crisis pregnancy services in Ireland

Brendan Howlin. Photo: Collins
Brendan Howlin. Photo: Collins
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

The Labour Party have proposed a bill to regulate crisis pregnancy services in Ireland.

The Health and Social Care Professionals (Amendment) Bill 2016, introduced in the Dáil this afternoon by Labour leader Brendan Howlin, would force services catering to women in crisis pregnancies to register and provide accurate information.

This follows an investigation by the Times in September which discovered that a Dublin-based crisis pregnancy centre was advising women that pregnancy increased a woman’s risk of breast cancer and abuse in later life.

This bill would add crisis pregnancy counsellors and advisers under the same regulations that cover other health providers.

In his speech, Deputy Howlin said: "It is not longer tenable to stand over a situation where a dietician and optician must be regulated but those counselling women in vulnerable situations face no such requirement.”

The bill was not opposed and a spokesperson for the Labour Party said that they are expecting cross-party support.

“Simon Harris has indicated that the government will accept the bill,” the spokesperson told

While attending The Women’s Centre on Berkeley Street in Dublin 7 undercover, the Times reporter's mental state was called into question by the counsellor. The reporter was shown also pictures of aborted foetuses and asked if she thought it was fair on the foetus to have an abortion.

“If you’re going to have children in the future, it’ll all rest on this. If you get breast cancer, you’re a beautiful 26 year old, quite intelligent, your whole life ahead of you, if you make a mistake, you know,” a member of staff claiming to be a counsellor told the undercover journalist.

An advertisement had described the clinic as a source of impartial advice for pregnant women who wish to travel abroad for an abortion.

Labour are expected to vote in favour of a bill to hold a referendum on the 8th Amendment, despite the fact that they voted against a similar bill last year.

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