Friday 17 January 2020

British abortion service is still receiving requests for help

Stock Image: AFP/GettyImages
Stock Image: AFP/GettyImages

The Marie Stopes clinic in London says it has seen a "dramatic" drop in termination cases from Ireland, from a total of 1,327 over 12 months in 2018 to just 108 for the first nine months of this past year.

However, the British-based Abortion Support Network (ASN) says it is still receiving requests for advice and financial help from Ireland, with at least 150 calls since January 2 last year.

ASN spokeswoman Mara Clarke says that this is a conservative figure because many people make email contact.

"The most marginalised people don't have a pathway, and they are still being failed by the law," she says.

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She has a list of difficult case studies, including that of a woman with a severe foetal abnormality that wasn't severe enough for her to access care in Ireland.

"While this woman did not have financial need, the logistics of arranging travel over were overwhelming for her. We were able to help her make all the necessary arrangements," Clarke says.

Other cases she cited included that of a 16-year-old girl who didn't know she was pregnant until she was in her second trimester. The girl and her mother made contact with ASN.

"While they were initially able to raise €1,000, they were charged €700 for an ultrasound scan in Ireland, leaving them €300 for the cost of the abortion and travel," Clarke says.

A fuller picture may emerge when research funded by HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy programme is published. The research is being conducted by Dr Catherine Conlon, assistant professor of social policy at Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Kate Antosik-Parsons.

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