Half of Ireland's counties have less than 10 GPs offering abortion
"It’s not acceptable that the provision of care is so patchy and piecemeal."
New figures have shown half of the counties in Ireland have fewer than 10 GPs providing abortion services.
The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) was sent figures from the HSE outlining the number of abortion services nationwide.
The organisation said there was a “rural divide” when it came to access to abortion across Ireland.
Abortion is available free for women for up to 12 weeks, the majority of which in this time frame are provided by GPs through abortion pills.
However, HSE figures have revealed that 13 counties have less than 10 GPs providing the services.
The counties are Cavan, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Mayo, Monaghan, Westmeath, Wexford, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Carlow and Offaly.
As well as this, just 10% of all GPs have opted into providing abortion services.
The NWCI said that there are much less termination of pregnancy services in the countryside than in cities and towns.
Director Orla O’Connor said women and pregnant people from every county in Ireland should have access to abortion services if required.
“Four years on from Repeal, it’s not acceptable that the provision of care is so patchy and piecemeal, something which is particularly affecting rural areas,” she said.
"We need the Government to prioritise community-wide provision of abortion that allows for local, accessible care for all those who need it.”
In response to the criticism, the HSE said it was “satisfied that there is a good geographic spread of GPs taking part" and that there are “enough to meet the needs of people who may need to access the service, with GPs providing services in each county”.
Only 11 of the country’s 19 maternity units are currently providing abortion services.
The Department of Health has said that three more maternity hospitals will be providing abortion services by the end of this year.