Addressing the results of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Sexual Violence Survey 2022, independent TD for Laois-Offaly, Carol Nolan, spoke strongly in the Dáil about the coercive impact of telemedicine abortion.
Speaking on 17th May, Deputy Nolan referenced the reply she received from a parliamentary question from the HSE, which acknowledged: “In-person consultations allow provision of personalised care and allow potential problems to be identified and mitigated. Meeting the woman in person increases the likelihood of the provider identifying any coercion or domestic abuse.” Deputy Nolan told the Dáil that “such coercion is a form of violence against women and, indeed, their unborn children.”
Despite receiving this reply from the HSE in March 2022, nothing has been done to cease the operation of telemedicine abortions. The absence of in-person consultation increases the likelihood of vulnerable women who are being coerced into having an abortion falling through the cracks and not receiving the support they desperately need. In the United States, Planned Parenthood (an abortion provider) was the most visited clinic by human trafficking survivors, with nearly a third of trafficking survivors visiting Planned Parenthood alone.
We know, from a report in the Irish Examiner (24 October 2022) that an underage girl was locked in a room and forced to ingest abortion pills. Alarming cases like this should be brought to the public attention and underline the urgent need for the government to stop the unsafe practice of telemedicine abortion.