The committee heard only 10 of the 19 maternity hospitals provide abortion services. IFPA medical director Dr Caitriona Henchion, said GPs do not feel safe offering medical abortions if the nearest hospital does not.
Speaking after the hearing, Dr Trish Horgan from the Southern Taskforce On Abortion and Reproductive Topics said legal fears are a real issue. “It is probably the only consultation I’ll have with my patients on a day-to- day basis where I’ll have to talk about the law and what the law says. That does definitely have a chilling effect, particularly for new providers,” the Cork GP said.
Hospital support is lacking in some counties, she said.
“GPs who are considering commencing service would be reluctant to do that if they don’t have surety of local hospital support. We don’t want to leave anyone behind. These are the issues we need to iron out to get everyone in the net so no one loses out on a service they are legally entitled to,” she said.
In 2020, 6,577 abortions were carried out and 194 women gave Irish addresses to UK abortion providers.