Disruption to Abortion Services in the UK Means Some Women from Ireland Must Travel to Other Countries

Women and pregnant people in Ireland are having difficulty obtaining appointments for treatment at UK clinics due to high demand.

The Abortion Support Network, who help hundreds of women travel to England each year to obtain abortion services, are hearing from their clients of difficulty booking appointments in some UK clinics over the past week. Clinics in Liverpool, for example, currently have a 15 day wait on appointments for all clients.

They have updated their website to include options for clinics in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The Abortion Support Network will now start recommending anyone who contacts them living in Dublin, Cork or Belfast to go to Belgium for first trimester procedures and to the Netherlands for second trimester procedures. They do not expect major cost difference between these countries and the UK. All clients travelling to Belgium or the Netherlands will need a passport or a European ID card.

Since the 1967 Abortion Act was introduced, the UK system has been providing for women from Ireland. For decades abortion seekers in Ireland have been forced to rely on the UK system to provide abortion services that remain illegal here.

Due to the logistics of arranging for payment, travel, and accommodation, women in Ireland already face significant barriers to accessing abortion services. Instances like these serve as a reminder that the Irish government has abdicated its responsibility to women and pregnant people in Ireland.

If you need an abortion and are concerned about costs or logistics the Abortion Rights Campaign recommends you contact the Abortion Support Network (ASN) for more information before booking.

www.asn.org.uk

015267370 from Republic of Ireland 

or

07897 611 593 from Northern Ireland or Isle of Man

 

ASN expect that requests for financial help will increase at this time but they are prepared for the increased call volume.

 

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Below is some information prepared by the Abortion Support Network that we hope is helpful to anyone seeking an abortion at this time. Please contact them if you have any questions.

 

Please visit this section of their website and scroll down to Providers Outside of England for details on how to book.

Clients will still be able to access abortions in England via BPAS (www.bpas.ie) and NUPAS (www.nupas.co.uk), but may only be able to get appointments in non-traditional places for Irish clients to travel to. This is why it may be better for some people to travel to the countries mentioned below.

Please also note The Liverpool Women’s Hospital (http://www.liverpoolwomens.nhs.uk/Our_Services/Gynaecology/Specialist_clinics.aspx click on “Termination of Pregnancy) will do abortions up to 12 weeks 5 days for £435.

 

BELGIUM

Time limit: 12 weeks from conception or 14 weeks from first day of LMP (Last Menstrual period)

They have a 6 day wait period but the 6 days will start when you start emailing the clinic.

The clinic would like women to stay overnight. Either arrive the night before the procedure, have the procedure early in the morning and fly home that evening, or preferably women fly out in the morning, have an appointment around 12 pm and then stay in Brussels overnight. There are no hotels right near the clinic but there are many a few minutes on the metro.

The clinic is 30 minutes from Brussels International Airport (10 minute train to city central, 10 minutes on the metro, 5 minute walk) or a one hour bus from Brussels South.

The clinic will give all the information about travel but does not have advice on hotels. These can be found using any travel website.

COST: 280Euro (this is a discount for N/Irish/IOM – local women pay 454)

They all speak good English, so when you phone they can explain how things work, provide over-the-phone counselling and they will schedule the procedure to fit in with flights. The clinic has a feminist ethos, was established when abortion was still illegal in Belgium and they treat women with great respect.

 

THE NETHERLANDS

In The Netherlands, abortion is available up to 22 weeks.

The 5 day wait period – Dutch law requires a delay time of five days between the first consultation and the induced abortion. This first consultation can either be with the clinic’s doctor, your general practitioner, your gynaecologist or a counsellor.

These clinics have English speakers.

A first trimester (12 weeks) treatment costs €620 (£528); a second trimester treatment €850 (£724). This is a huge discount for clients who are post 19 weeks, which is €1550/£1350 in the UK

Clients need to take a valid passport or ID card with them, so they can prove their identity.

 

On returning to Ireland please be aware that there is free aftercare. Both the 6 week check up and post abortion counselling are free, paid for by the HSE and the services are listed here.

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