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Abortion Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 March 2022

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Questions (697)

Carol Nolan

Question:

697. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Health the way he plans to address the risks posed to privacy and informed consent by the provision of abortion by telemedicine; the way he has been assured that a doctor can verify that a woman is not being coerced into having an abortion in these situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11179/22]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

As part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to protect public health and limit the spread of Covid-19, the Department of Health and the HSE worked together in 2020 to put arrangements in place to allow termination of pregnancy services in early pregnancy to be provided remotely.

For the duration of the Covid-19 public health emergency, where the need for social distancing, reducing personal contacts and reducing the burden on medical practitioners are paramount, it became possible for a woman to access a termination under section 12 of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (i.e., before 12 weeks) from her medical practitioner by telephone or video conference consultation.

There is ongoing engagement between the Department of Health and the HSE to monitor service provision, facilitate the smooth-running of the service and resolve any issues that may arise. However, as restrictions are beginning to ease, the Department is currently reviewing whether remote consultation as part of a blended approach to termination of pregnancy care should be continued post the COVID-19 public health emergency period. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.

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