14.9.23 – Latest HSE data shows 1,903 women didn’t proceed from first to final abortion appointment in 2022

14.9.23 – Latest HSE data shows 1,903 women didn’t proceed from first to final abortion appointment in 2022

“It illustrates that thousands of children are alive today because of the three-day wait” – Eilís Mulroy

From information provided by the HSE in reply to a parliamentary question from Carol Nolan TD, there were 10,779 women who received a first consultation for an abortion in 2022. This is based on the number of claims for initial consultation reimbursements by GPs. The claims received in the same year for abortions performed totals 8,876. Therefore, it can be determined that 1,903 first consultations didn’t result in the final abortion appointment.

Commenting on the significance of this information, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:

“It’s reasonable to infer that the vast majority of these 1,903 cases were of women who changed their minds during the three day wait period. Most presumably decided to keep their baby. The 2022 figure complements similar figures from previous years, and offers a strong endorsement to the effectiveness of the three-day waiting period. This provision in the law gives women in the stressful situation of an unplanned pregnancy a vital window of time to reflect.

“Proposals to strip away the three-day waiting period, as advocated by the deeply flawed three-year review, are based on ‘UNPAC’ study which interviewed a tiny sample of just 58 women who had abortions. It failed to interview even one of the thousands of women who have availed of the three-day reflection period and opted to continue with their pregnancy.

“It would be highly irresponsible to scrap the life-saving three-day reflection period considering the mounting evidence of its effectiveness as a small but significant safeguard which mitigates against the life-ending decision which many women come to deeply regret. Medical Council guidelines clearly state that a patient’s consent is not a once-off and shouldn’t be acquired in a stressful situation.

The shock of learning about an unplanned pregnancy can be immensely stressful; allowing for same-day abortions would undoubtedly lead thousands of women to take a decision they would soon come to deeply regret. The Turnaway study (2020) found that 98% of women who were refused an abortion subsequently expressed gladness they didn’t have the abortion by the time of the child’s fifth birthday. To achieve informed consent and to save lives, the three-day wait is a necessary safeguard in the Irish abortion legislation”

In response to the figures, Deputy Carol Nolan said:

“With each passing year, the clear and unequivocal need to retain the 3 day reflection period is more firmly established. Only an approach rooted in a reckless and imprudent disregard for human life and the well being of women could argue for its abolition.”