With the final stages of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill due this week in the Seanad, the national maternity hospital, Holles Street, has disclosed it will be providing abortions in certain circumstances from January.
Medical professionals have warned that abortion services are unlikely to be rolled out in Januray, as hoped by Health Minister Simon Harris. However women whose babies have fatal abnormalities will be able to get abortions at Holles St hospital from the new year.
A spokesman for hospital's outgoing master, Dr Rhona Mahony, said staff are working hard to ensure a “full, safe and compassionate service” is in place and added,
“Notwithstanding the outstanding logistical issues, we expect to provide termination of pregnancy in situations of fatal foetal anomaly from January 1.”
In an earlier interview on the RTE Marian Finucane show, Dr Mahony said the Government plan to have the entire service rolled out by January was a ‘big ask’.
“[We will] struggle to provide the service we would like to provide. It’s not that it won’t be available, but the entire service I don’t think will be the way we would like it to be by January 1.”
The Coombe and Rotunda Hospitals have said they will not be implementing the service in January. The Irish Family Planning Association, which is expected to be one of the main providers of medical abortions, has also said it doesn’t have a date for the commencement of its service.
Once the legislation is finalised, The Health Service Executive (HSE) is expected begin advertising a 24/7 helpline, to indicate which hospitals and GPs are taking part.