The following is from prolife group Deise4Life. – Catholic Arena –
What happens when a woman in Ireland contacts a GP about having an abortion?
Online HSE documentation makes it clear that the first consultation with the GP is not meant to be a rubber-stamping exercise, but what actually happens in practice?
The HSE abortion consent form
The HSE has posted online their abortion consent form for medical abortions (i.e. abortion pills). It can be accessed here: Medical abortion consent form (hse.ie). It gives a clear picture of what is supposed to happen under our new abortion legislation.
When a woman applies for a medical abortion in Ireland, she makes an initial appointment with a GP or other abortion provider. The consent form is to be read and signed by both parties.
The woman signs to being “fully informed..about side effects.. and potential risks and complications”. In fact, she signs that she understands to her “complete satisfaction”.
The medical practitioner signs the following statement: “I confirm that in my opinion, the patient understands the nature of the treatment. I have provided them with the ‘Your Guide to Medical Abortion’ booklet and explained what the treatment will involve, the benefits and risks of this and any alternative treatments. I discussed any particular concerns of this patient. These were explained to my patient in terms suited to their understanding and they are able to give informed consent.”
There is then a 3-day waiting period after the initial appointment, and the woman returns to receive her two abortion pills, the first of which is taken on the spot, the second the following day.
Some women have shared their actual experiences in conversation with the Life Institute, and these have been posted online. Here is one such story (Sarah’s Story); others like it are also listed on the Life Institute web page.
“I was surprised how quickly I got an appointment. He (the GP) went through the abortion and it all sounded very straightforward really. There was no offer of help, support, no counselling, no encouragement… just to return in 3 days. The next three days were a blur but you could cut the tension with a knife at home. I returned 3 days later and I always remember he didn’t tell me to sit down, and while I was standing up, he handed me the pills and the plastic cup filled with water. It was like I had no time to even think about what I was doing.
The next day I was to take the 2nd set of pills. I hesitated for a few hours but overwhelming stress came over me, and I convinced myself again that I just had to do it and the damage was already done anyway.
The next few hours were excruciating, I was told I would have mild cramps. This is not true. I bled so much and the pain was awful. I stayed in bed for the next two days and only got up to use the toilet. After all that was over, I thought ‘okay it’s done’, I just felt so fragile. After a week I was in the toilet and just felt something very strange and out came a perfect tiny baby. I couldn’t believe it, I always remember the perfect shape of his leg, you could see it so clearly. I took a photo, I just had to.
All I can say is, I am traumatised.
My life is now measured by everything before and after the abortion. I feel like a different person and I’ll never be the same. It has impacted every area of my life. This is the part you are never told, no one warned me about this. I wish I had known, I would have never done it.”
How typical is Sarah’s story?
The short answer to this question is that we have no way of knowing, because hardly any information is being collected about the operation of the new regime – but there are some disturbing indicators.
More than 2000 women, about 1 in 3 women who had an abortion that year, contacted the HSE post-abortion helpline in 2020. That suggests an awful lot of women who found the abortion experience harder to deal with than they were led to believe.
In 2019, according to the Irish Family Planning Association annual report, 8% (nearly 1 in 12) of a sample of their clients ended up in hospital after taking abortion pills. Nationally, that suggests more than 500 women in just one year ending up in hospital after the pills.
There have been huge variations in abortion rates in neighbouring Irish counties, suggesting that GP’s in some counties are doing a better job of listening and counselling than others, and that when this happens, more women change their minds about proceeding with an abortion.
It has recently been confirmed (parliamentary question from Carol Nolan TD) that there have been 94 abortion-related claims to the State Claims Agency up to end October 2021.
To sum up:
– More than 6500 abortions a year
– Large variation in abortion rates between neighbouring counties
– Traumatised women accessing post-abortion helplines in their thousands
– Hundreds of women being hospitalised after taking the abortion pills
– Nearly one hundred women to date have submitted abortion-related claims
Whatever happened to “rare” and “safe” in the 2018 slogan “safe, legal and rare”? At least three members of Cabinet used that slogan in the referendum campaign. It is rarely mentioned now, and it is easy to see why.
Another slogan – Rethink Abortion – seems far more apt.