Spike in crisis-pregnancy contacts attributed to referendum

Spike in crisis-pregnancy contacts attributed to referendum
The referendum to repeal the eighth amendment passed with two-thirds of the vote.

More than 3,800 contacts were made to crisis-pregnancy counselling services in Ireland last year.

36 children under the age of 17 sought help from two organisations.

According to details released under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 3,812 contacts or client visits made to 16 HSE-funded crisis-pregnancy services in 2018.

More than a quarter (1,070) relate to the Irish Family Planning Clinic, which has ten counselling centres across Ireland.

Its chief executive, Niall Behan, says it was partly down to the abortion referendum taking place in May 2018.

"Last year was an exceptional year because of the referendum. Many women took the opportunity to come to counselling during the abortion referendum," he said.

Things have returned to normal this year, the figures are in line with other years even though women can now access abortion in Ireland.

Large numbers also attended other crisis-pregnancy clinics, including in Cork, Killarney, Mayo, and the midlands.

A total of 20 children contacted the Irish Family Planning Clinic last year, while 16 girls called the Youth Health Service in Cork.

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