01 Jul 2022

Laois Offaly Minister 'particularly concerned' about abortion in Midlands

Everything you need to know about the start of abortion services in Kildare

The HSE My Options website contains information

The 'lack of' abortion services in the Midlands is of 'particularly concern' to a Laois Offaly public representative who sits at the Government table with Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar.

Minister of State Pippa Hackett issued a statement welcoming the review of abortion services in Ireland. She said the review will comprise a public consultation, research on abortion care, and research on the views of the service providers.

 “The introduction of abortion services in this country in 2018 was a milestone for women, but we now need to ensure that those who need termination of pregnancy services are receiving quality care in all parts of the country,” says Minister Hackett.

The Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar does provide termination under the law. The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, which also has a maternity unit, is not on the HSE list of approved centres.

However, the Laois hospital is part of a shared network maternity service network with the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin. It is approved for terminations.

Nevertheless, the provision of services in Laois, Offaly and other Midlands counties was an issue for the Minister. 

“I have been particularly concerned about the lack of services to women in the Midlands and other rural areas,” said the Green Party reprsentative.

Along with the Oireachtas All Party Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Minister Hackett said she has been pressing the Minister for Health to implement this review, with an independent chair.

The senator's also called for a geographical overview of services to be included in the review.

Her statement said that in 2020, 14 people from Laois, 28 from Offaly and 19 from Westmeath contacted the HSE My Options Helpline. The Geashill based politician said this helpline provides information and support on all options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services.

“It’s important that people are not disadvantaged by their geographic location, nor should they experience any cost barrier to accessing services.  I want to be sure we use this review effectively to close the gaps in care,” says Minister Hackett

“I would encourage everyone who has used abortion services – or found it difficult to access services – to have their say in the public consultation," said the Minister of State.

The Department of Health has invited the public and interested parties to make submissions as part of the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

The online survey is available at eusurvey/runner/PublicConsultationOperationofA ct2021


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