GP-based care must be central to abortion law

GP-based care must be central to abortion law.

‘How will I find a thousand euro in two weeks?” The mother of three looked at me with a mixture of panic and despair. “We have Communion coming up and absolutely no money as it is . . .”

This woman’s face stays with me. It is the face of many Irish women as they learn the cost of an abortion in England. It is a face injured by the silent bite of austerity, while already coping with a job loss or mortgage default and now an unwanted pregnancy.

Affluent Irish women have always had abortions. They continue to exercise their right to travel. However, for many Irish women the right to travel now counts for very little. It is the feasibility of travel that is important and this is substantially determined by the availability of money.

Desperation, always a feature of Irish abortion, is now the dominant emotion felt by many women. Ask yourself how would you access €1,000 in less than two weeks without telling anyone the reason you needed the money?

The complete absence of any of the voices of the more than 150,000 Irish women who have had abortions was a striking feature of the Oireachtas hearings last month into proposed abortion legislation as a result of the European Court of Human Rights A, B and C ruling. The lack of a public voice obscures the fact that abortion is not a rare experience for Irish women.

I often wonder how many GPs actually do referrals for abortion,
legally they can, but how many actually do, or do they push women towards positive options or the IFPA, but is it know that over 1/3 of women who travel to the UK contact BPAS themselves with out going through services here first.

4 thoughts on “GP-based care must be central to abortion law”

  1. I like Dr Favier and have no doubts as to her bona fides, but I’m uneasy with how this is framed. It seems to endorse the paternalistic view of pregnancy as essentially a medical issue for which women need professional help. Of course pregnant women like everyone else must be able to access proper GP care as needed, but centring the GP in this way risks shifting control of pregnancy and childbirth from one institution (the state) to another (the medical profession), bypassing the pregnant woman again. As indeed happened in the US where under Roe v Wade “the right to choose” is more the doctor’s right than the woman’s.

        1. Currently legally gps and counseling agencies are how irish women are meant to access abortion information, this was the legislation put in place in 1995 after the referendum on the right to information in 1992.

          So I wonder how this works in practice or if there are guidelines, or if stigma prevents women from doing this. It is wonderful to know we do have pro choice drs, I know my practice is pro choice and supportive but it should be the norm.

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