28 Nov 2021

Abortion services yet to be introduced at Portlaoise hospital

Laois Laois Laois Portlaoise

The Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

Abortion services were introduced into nine Irish hospitals this week but the service is not yet available in Portlaoise hospital.

Following last year's referendum and subsequent legislative change, people can now access an abortion in Ireland under specific circumstances.

Nine hospitals across the country and an estimated 165 GP’s have signed up to provide the services but abortion services are not yet available in Portlaoise hospital or in any of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG).

The following maternity units and hospitals will be providing abortion care: National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin, Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, University Hospital Galway, Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Cork University Maternity Hospital, University Hospital Waterford.

None of these hospitals are in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG).

The DMHG includes Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, St James’ Hospital Dublin, St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, The Adelaide & Meath Hospital (Tallaght Hospital) Dublin, Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore, Naas General Hospital and The Coombe Women & Infant University Hospital Dublin.

A spokesperson for the HSE told the Leinster Express that there are no specific plans in place yet for abortion services at Portlaoise hospital but they are expected to be rolled out in 'other hospitals'  future. 

“The HSE, in consultation with the Department of Health and other stakeholders, is working collaboratively on an implementation plan for the delivery of the termination of pregnancy service. A lot of work is ongoing to set up services to care for women, and the HSE will provide information to women and to healthcare professionals about where and how services are available as they come on stream.

"It is expected that other hospitals will begin to provide abortion care in the near future," the spokesperson said. 

Not all GP’s in the Republic of Ireland provide abortion services, it is their choice based on religious or moral beliefs or other reasons. 

Health Minister Simon Harris has claimed that the estimated 165 GPs who have signed up to provide the service is enough to meet demand.

The law allows abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. People under 9 weeks of pregnancy will mainly be cared for by a GP, and people between 9 and 12 weeks will be cared for in hospital

Where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant person.  People in these cases will be cared for in a hospital setting.

Where there is a condition likely to lead to the death of the foetus before or shortly after birth.  People in these cases will be cared for in a hospital setting.

More than 24,200 Laois voters backed the introduction of abortion services in Ireland while just over 15,200 voted against the change in law back in May, 2018.

The HSE is steering people towards its helpline 'My Options' to discuss options with regards to abortion. My Options offers information about abortion services 1800 828 010.

Abortion is available free through the HSE for those living in the Republic of Ireland.

Anyone living outside of the Republic of Ireland can have an abortion here but will have to pay for it.

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