2 January 2020. One year on from abortion provision in the Republic of Ireland. We say again – anyone who can access an abortion in Ireland without getting on a boat or a plane is a victory.
But. But. But. The current provision of abortion in Ireland is not enough.
As predicted, ASN hears from fewer clients from the Republic of Ireland. As expected, the people we hear from need later procedures, have severe foetal abnormalities, or are more marginalised than our “usual” client.
In 2019 we heard from roughly 150 people in the Republic of Ireland who contacted us. These included:
More than 25 people who were within 3 days of the legal limit, which means the medically unnecessary 3 day wait period kept them from accessing care in Ireland
10 people who had a failed legal early medical abortion in Ireland and then had to travel to England at their own expense (with ASN’s help)
International students, refugees and others told they didn’t qualify for care in Ireland when they did
People over 12 weeks who need a visa to travel, especially since non-EU nationals living in Ireland haven’t been able to get timely visas to the UK for more than 2 years.
Women and couples with pregnancies diagnosed with catastrophic but not bad enough for 2 doctors to swear that the baby will die within 28 days foetal abnormalities.
People without a home or a safe space where they live to spend hours having a miscarriage and exhibiting the associated symptoms
People who would rather access early medical abortion tablets online than via the Irish healthcare system.
People delayed in accessing care by rogue crisis pregnancy centres.
Women delayed by anti-choice GPs who lie to them and say they are not pregnant, were never pregnant, must have miscarried, but . . . who are pregnant.
Not specific enough? Here are 30 of the 150+ people who contacted ASN for help IN 2019.
1. The mother of a pregnant young teen who wanted to travel to England for a surgical procedure rather than getting tablets in Ireland.
2. A couple with a pregnancy diagnosed with a catastrophic abnormality who were seeking advice on whether he would be allowed to stay with her during the procedure, and how to declare foetal remains at customs.
3. "I am 34 years old and pregnant. I need to travel and return in the same day if possible. I have children and am also the sole carer for a terminally ill parent and can’t afford to pay a nurse for more than one day.”
4. A young woman studying in Ireland but not the kind of studying that qualifies you for free abortion care in Ireland. After a GP charged her €100 for a consultation and to tell her the abortion would cost more than €500, she called ASN
5. “Please call me back, I am 12 weeks pregnant and I don’t have any money and I can’t have it done in Ireland.”
6. A woman who had to wait 2 weeks to get a dating scan in Ireland. She also didn’t have a passport, which restricted which airlines she could travel on.
7. A woman with a catastrophic foetal abnormality that Ireland didn’t decide wasn’t serious enough to receive care in country until the client was 28 weeks along.
8. “Do you know which abortion clinics have the shortest wait times? I have a complicated pregnancy history and I’m worried about my health. My doctor is not being helpful or forthcoming. To be honest I'm hoping I miscarry.”
9. Someone who had an abortion in an Irish hospital which failed. When she asked about continuing the pregnancy, she was told that medical abortion pills might cause foetal abnormalities.
10. The mother of a pregnant 16 yo who didn’t discover the pregnancy until past 12 weeks. While they were initially able to raise €1000, they were charged €700 for an ultrasound scan in Ireland, leaving them €300 towards the abortion and travel.
11. A teenage refugee in Ireland, pregnant as result of rape. Her advocate was surprised that mental health issues and trauma from the rape did not entitle the young woman to an abortion in Ireland.
12. A young woman from Ireland who was refused an abortion as she was scanned at 12 weeks, 3 days. When she arrived to the clinic in England, with ASN’s financial support, she scanned at . . . 9 weeks 4 days.
13. “I had an abortion in Ireland which didn’t work, and now need to go to England. However I had to order a new passport as mine expired and I’m now 16 weeks and the abortion is going to be €700.”
14. "I am in my 19th week of pregnancy which came as a shock to me as I never missed a period and had no symptoms. I was in no way prepared for this news and I am in no position to continue with this pregnancy."
15. The family of a pregnant 14 year old. The family was only able to scrape €50 together. They also lived in a rural area which added to costs and logistical difficulties.
16. "I am pregnant and the baby has fluid on its brain and lungs and they say my baby won't survive. I need help as I don't want to go through with the pregnancy as two hospitals are saying baby won't survive but they won’t help me.
17. "My partner has recently abandoned me and our children and right after I found out I was pregnant again, which was unplanned. I have looked into the price to have a termination but just do not have the money to cover one.”
18. A client with a disability whose pregnancy was over 12 weeks. Due to the nature of her disability the hospital in England would not treat her unless she had someone to collect her, and she didn’t have anyone in her life who could travel with her.
19. A woman who went to her GP in Ireland, was sent for a scan, and when she returned to her GP for the results of her scan, she was told she was 12 weeks, 1 day pregnant.
20. A woman who had two failed early medical abortions in Ireland, who was then told that the foetus had serious but not fatal abnormalities.
21. A woman with a severe – but not severe enough to access care in Ireland - foetal abnormality. While this woman did not have financial need, the logistics of arranging travel over were overwhelming for her.
22. A woman pregnant as result of incest who was too traumatised to obtain care prior to passing the 12 week limit.
23. A woman who was told she was infertile who wound up being pregnant anyway. Her medical professionals refused to do anything other than “celebrate” this “blessed” event.
24. A woman who went to a rogue crisis pregnancy centre told her she was more than 12 weeks pregnant and to start taking ante natal vitamins. When she went to her GP several weeks later, she was . . . . 12 weeks 2 days.
25. A woman who, despite being told she could access abortion in Ireland, wanted information on how to order early medical abortion pills online.
26. A woman who, after being told by two doctors at an Irish hospital that the pregnancy had a fatal foetal abnormality, was then told the hospital changed their mind about providing the termination.
27. A woman who had her abortion arranged with a clinic before learning that her BMI meant she needed to be treated in a hospital, a much more expensive procedure.
28. “I went to the doctor as felt unwell but the GP said I couldn’t be pregnant because I took the morning after pill and must have missed my period due to stress. When I went back to the GP they told me I was exactly 12 weeks pregnant.”
29. “My mum knows and will help with childcare on the day, but neither of us has any money. The man involved is my abusive ex and I can’t – I won’t – tell him.”
30. A recent immigrant to Ireland pregnant as result of rape, who despite the efforts of ASN and four different agencies was unable to access an abortion abroad and was forced to continue the pregnancy.
You can follow @AbortionSupport.
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