LoveBoth calls on Minister to ban online abortion pill ads

LoveBoth calls on Minister to ban online abortion pill ads
(L to R) Master of Holles Street Maternity Hospital Dr Rhona Mahony, Minister For Health Simon Harris TD & Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital Professor Fergal Malone. Pic: Collins.

LoveBoth have called on the Government to ban online ads for abortion pills.

They say Simon Harris's concern about the pills is hypocritical as he could have done something about them as Health Minister.

Illegal abortion pills are widely available online and this was one of the main arguments that led to the Government accepting proposals to allow abortion without restriction for up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

The figures are not absolutely clear but a best guess based on data from abortion pill providers suggests around 2,000 Irish women ordered them online in 2016.

It is known that more than 500 of those were seized before they arrived.

Dr Berry Kiely from the Pro-Life Campaign says advertising them to women should be banned.

Dr Kiely said: "You ban the ads. If Google can ban our ads, surely they can ban those ads as well.

"I mean I think it's an issue that needs to be tackled at European level."

Illegally procuring an abortion in Ireland via pills comes with a punishment of a fine or a maximum of 14 years in prison.

Master of the National Maternity Hospital Rhona Mahony says that threat pushes women out of healthcare if they have trouble with the pills

Dr Mahony said: "There are lots of different types of incarcerations, it's not just necessarily about locking women up, it's the threat of the custodial sentence that's driving women out of out healthcare system."

To date no one has ever been prosecuted under the law for taking an abortion pill.

Spokespeople for Love Both refused to say if they think the potential 14-year sentence should be changed.

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