My Options – challenges for the new Irish Abortion Support & Information service

It became legal for women to seek abortion services since termination of pregnancy became legal for the first time in Ireland on January 1st 2019 but challenges are very much present for the new system.

It is understood that less than 170 GPs signed up to provide abortion services in time for the January 1 launch date, which represents about 5pc of the country’s total GP population of approximately 3,500. Four counties apparently have no GPs signed up at all. This situation does cause confusion for vulnerable people and there have been instances where the new My Options service has been hijacked with bogus websites using the brand to direct women to services which may try to influence their decision, offering perks such as free ultrasounds.

The My Options service is staffed by neutral, specially trained HSE counsellors and if people are looking at information online, look for the HSE logo. The correct freephone number is 1800 828 010.

Some of the signs the HSE encouraged people to look out for when determining if a source is reputable include:

·          they may require you to wait a long time between appointments

·          they may only meet you in public places such as hotels or car parks

·          there are delays in giving you pregnancy test results – these should be given immediately

·          their leaflets or information do not give information about all your options or uses language that is very negative or frightening

·          they may show inappropriate images, videos or DVDs as part of a counselling session, which are designed to influence a woman’s decision.

MyOptions was established by the HSE to act as the main referral path for women seeking a termination, providing non-directive and non-judgmental advice.  

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