Over 90% of Irish women using early abortion services self-managed at home, says report 1 week ago

Over 90% of Irish women using early abortion services self-managed at home, says report

"It is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of unintended pregnancy."

Over 90% of women in Ireland using early abortion services self-managed their abortion at home, a new report has shown.

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The Irish Family Planning Association's annual report for 2019 showed that the vast majority (92%) of patients were able to manage their early abortion at home and did not require a hospital visit.

Of those who were referred to hospitals, approximately 4.5% of women experienced complications mostly due to an incomplete abortion.

IFPA's report also showed that almost half of the women who presented at their clinics for their early abortion services were mothers.

Over half were in their 20s, while 34% were in their 30s. 8% of patients were younger than 20 and 7% were over the age of 40.

Almost 70% of patients were not using contraception when they became pregnant, while 20% were using condoms and 8% the contraceptive pill. About 4% had used long-acting contraceptives, the morning after pill,  or the withdrawal method.

“This data serves as a reminder that even the most effective methods of contraception carry a risk of failure, and therefore it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of unintended pregnancy,” says the report. 

Abortion in Ireland is legal up until 12 weeks gestation. After that period, a termination can only be carried out if there is a risk to the life or health of the mother, or if the foetus cannot survive outside of the womb.

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This 12 week legal limit for abortion on demand has meant that despite the recent change in law, some women are still expected to continue with an unplanned pregnancy or travel abroad for abortion services.