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This equates to a decrease in the rate of Irish women travelling to the UK for an abortion from 3.5 per 1000 women in 2016 to 3.1 per 1000 in 2017, following the general downward trend in these rates over the past number of years.
The SHCPP also reports that women from Ireland are continuing to contact online providers of abortion pills in large numbers. One online provider reported that 1,217 women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland ‘received the medical abortion pill’ from their service in 2017. A second online provider reports that 878 women from the Republic of Ireland ‘used the service’ in 2017.
Commenting on these figures, Helen Deely, Programme Lead for the HSE SHCPP said: “If a woman takes an abortion pill and has prolonged heavy bleeding, bad pain, faints, or experiences other complications, we strongly encourage her to attend an emergency department or GP straight away. If a woman is in any way concerned about her health following taking an abortion pill or travelling abroad for an abortion, we encourage her to attend a free post-abortion medical check-up funded by the HSE. These services are free of charge and the full list of services is available on www.abortionaftercare.ie.
Ms Deely continues, “Anyone experiencing a crisis pregnancy should be aware of the support available to them free of charge. There are HSE funded crisis pregnancy and post abortion counselling services in over 30 locations nationwide. Crisis pregnancy counsellors provide on-going support and information to women and their partners. A list of crisis pregnancy services is available on www.positiveoptions.ie and abortionaftercare.ie