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.
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.