A reply to a parliamentary question by Deputy Carol Nolan from the HSE has revealed the levels of spending as part of its Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. A total of 28 organisations received funding under the programme between 2019 to 2023 which totals €18,752,332.

Avowedly pro-abortion campaigning organisations are on the receiving end of funds which are earmarked for ‘counselling’, this includes the likes of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) which receives €550,000 – €600,000 annually. Their total funding for 2019-2023 adds up to €2,849,401. 

Meanwhile, the reply letter states that “My Options service – One Family & Caredoc” received a total of €3,376,254 in the same period. A research project undertaken by Students for Life in 2021-23 revealed that MyOptions counsellors are failing to provide non-directive counselling and the findings showed that they frequently tell women to book their first abortion appointment, even in situations where the women make it clear that they are unsure if they want an abortion. 

The problems with MyOptions’ counsellors’ practices could also be seen in the recent RTÉ Investigates programme (15 April) which featured a phone call between a woman and a MyOptions counsellor. In the clip, the woman told the counsellor she was over 12 weeks pregnant and the counsellor immediately brought up abortion and sought to refer her to an abortion provider in the UK. Unless the clip was highly edited, no attempt was made to ask whether the woman would like to avail of counselling or receive information on the support available should she decide to keep her baby.

The lack of funding for genuine counselling services which aren’t simply abortion providers or advocates is shocking. Since the 2018 referendum, the government has gutted funding previously made available to organisations which provided genuine support and counselling to women in unplanned pregnancies. 

Commenting on the answers she received to the latest questions she submitted, Deputy Nolan said: “Once again we see clear evidence that the Government is actively directing massive amounts of taxpayers’ money toward services that reflect the positions of abortion advocacy rather than genuine crisis support. It needs to be reminded that the exchequer is not there to act as a fundraiser for the promotion and support of such a narrow range of views.”