Anti-choice language ‘deliberately stigmatising’

The debate on the Eighth Amendment has prompted a surge in the number of people accessing post-abortion counselling.

“Since last autumn there has been a 20% increase in the number of people seeking our post-abortion counselling and we expect that will grow between now and the referendum,” said Dublin Well Woman Centre chief executive Alison Begas.

She said people come in after “hearing comments made by public figures that may be insensitive or uncaring or ill-informed”.

This is the second time the centre has seen an increase in demand for its services.

“In the six-month period after the death of Savita Halappanavar, from October 2012 to March 2013, there was a phenomenal increase in the number of women coming in to us,” said Ms Begas. “We saw a 50% increase. Some came in just from sheer anger.”

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has seen a similar increase.

“In the last quarter of 2017, there was an 18% increase in women attending the IFPA pregnancy counselling service,” said chief executive Niall Behan.

He said people accessing the IFPA’s counselling services were reaching out for similar reasons to those contacting the Dublin Well Woman Centre.

“The rhetoric of the abortion debate can trigger a range of feelings in women who have had terminations,” said Mr Behan.

“The language and imagery used by the anti-choice campaigners are stigmatising, and sometimes deliberately so. It’s aimed at undermining a woman’s decision to have an abortion.

“So women who have had terminations may feel under attack. When this happens, it can be helpful to speak to a professional counsellor.”

Both organisations offer non-directive counselling to any person who needs it and whether an abortion happened in recent times or many years ago.

Ms Begas said Dublin Well Woman Centre has both men and women coming to it for counselling and some relate to abortions which took place as long as 30 years ago.

“We see people from all walks of life, from junior partners in law firms to homeless women, and from the age of 13 to 53,” she said.


Related Articles

Health committee rejects abortion legislation amendments by pro-life TDs

Health Committee to continue debate on abortion legislation

Proposals to stop public money paying for abortion services shot down by Health Committee

Health Committee scrutinising legislation to allow for abortion


Breaking Stories

Leo Varadkar heralds 'one of the better days in politics' amid draft Brexit withdrawal deal

Department of Health reaches deal with IMO for provision of abortion services

The Lotto results are in...

Brexit explainer: What the latest developments mean for Ireland, the UK and the EU

Breaking Stories

World Diabetes Day: Could you name the 7 subtle signs of the illness?

Underground art, gold mosques and soothing sewing lessons – Uzbekistan is full of surprises

How to put a twist on classic dishes – according to two MasterChef winners

How to make Ping Coombes’ no-cook rainbow pad Thai

More From The Irish Examiner