“It indicates that thousands of children are alive today because
of the basic safeguards in the abortion law” – Eilís Mulroy
From information provided by the HSE in reply to a parliamentary question from Carol Nolan TD, it can be estimated that, based on PCRS claims payments for initial abortion consultations in 2022 and the first six months of 2023, that in 2022 there were 10,588 women who received a first consultation for an abortion, whilst in the first six months of 2023 there were 6,084 women who had a first consultation.
We know from data provided to Deputy Nolan by the HSE at the same time that the HSE acknowledged 8,876 claims for abortions in 2022. We also know that from January to June 2023, there have been 5,052 abortions, based on payments claims. Commenting on the significance of these figures, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:
“Recent HSE data indicates that in 2022, there were 1,712 cases of women who made an initial appointment for an abortion but who didn’t return to the second and final appointment. It’s reasonable to infer that the vast majority of these cases were of women who changed their minds, and opted to keep their baby. This tallies with data from previous years. This offers a very strong endorsement to the effectiveness of the three-day waiting period, which gives women in the stressful situation of an unplanned pregnancy a vital window of reflection.
“The same information also tells us that from January to June of this year, there have been 1,032 cases of first consultations which did not result in a final abortion appointment. Therefore, in just 18 months, there have been 2,744 women who did not proceed to the second appointment. In most of these cases, the presence of the life-saving three-day reflection period will have been the most significant factor.”
“The overall picture, from the beginning of the abortion regime in 2019 until June 2023, suggests that there have been just shy of 6,700 initial appointments which did not result in a final abortion appointment. This is a heartening figure and indicates that thousands of children are alive today because of the basic safeguards in the abortion law.
“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.”