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Ireland’s Government spent almost €3 million on medical abortion in 2019

Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) spent €2.9 million providing medical abortions through GPs in 2019, it has been revealed.

The figure, which was provided to Carol Nolan TD in response to a parliamentary question, only represents abortions that took place in the first nine weeks of pregnancy or in a community setting.

It does not include surgical abortions, which only occur in hospital settings beyond nine weeks or medical terminations provided through a hospital.

Staggering costs

Nolan told Gript the figure was “staggering”, especially considering that “an almost equal amount of funding (€3.1million) was allocated for the implementation of the entire National Women and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP) in 2019”.

The independent Laois-Offaly TD continued: “When you put this information, and the recent annual report on the number of abortions that took place in 2019 together, what we now have is an emerging sense of how much abortion is going to ‘cost’ in terms of the loss of human life and the financial resources that could be better spent at the community level”.

“It is also clear however that the fees of €2.9 million do not represent anything like the true financial cost because that number only refers to abortions which took place at 9 weeks or under in a community setting. It takes no account of the costs associated with the delivery of abortion ‘services’ beyond 9 weeks and which have to take place in our maternity hospitals.”

Pro-life group, Life Institute, said that the size of the payment showed the government priority was funding abortion rather than supporting women.

“These numbers show that some doctors are literally making a killing from the new abortion regime,” the Life Institute said.

“GPs are being paid almost twice as much to provide an abortion than they would make from caring for a woman in pregnancy, and for some doctors, abortion is clearly a profitable undertaking.”

6,666 abortions in 2019

According to official figures, a total of 6,666 abortions were carried out in Ireland last year.

It is the first full year figures have been available, following a 66% vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment in a 2018 referendum. Abortion services in Ireland commenced on 1 January 2019.

Official figures from the UK Department of Health and Social Care show an additional 375 abortions took place in England and Wales last year where a Republic of Ireland address was provided. In addition, 67 of the abortions that took place in Ireland in 2019 were for women from Northern Ireland. 

It means the total number of abortions in 2019 for Irish resident women that were performed in Ireland, England and Wales was 6,974.

In 2018, before new abortion legislation was introduced to Ireland, the number of abortions that took place in England and Wales for women who are Irish residents was 2,879.

Dear reader,

You may be surprised to learn that our 24-week abortion time limit is out of line with the majority of European Union countries, where the most common time limit for abortion on demand or on broad social grounds is 12 weeks gestation.

The latest guidance from the British Association of Perinatal Medicine enables doctors to intervene to save premature babies from 22 weeks. The latest research indicates that a significant number of babies born at 22 weeks gestation can survive outside the womb, and this number increases with proactive perinatal care.

This leaves a real contradiction in British law. In one room of a hospital, doctors could be working to save a baby born alive at 23 weeks whilst, in another room of that same hospital, a doctor could perform an abortion that would end the life of a baby at the same age.

The majority of the British population support reducing the time limit. Polling has shown that 70% of British women favour a reduction in the time limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks or below.

Please click the button below to sign the petition to the Prime Minister, asking him to do everything in his power to reduce the abortion time limit.