Trinity researchers will carry out the first study into women’s experiences of using abortion care services and unplanned pregnancy supports since abortion services became available in 2019.
The study – Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care (UnPAC) study – will consult with women using abortion care and unplanned pregnancy support services and the doctors, nurses and counsellors providing such care to figure out how well the services are meeting women’s needs.
The HSE commissioned Trinity’s Dr Catherine Conlon to carry out research.
Conlon, who is currently assistant professor of social policy in Trinity, said in a press statement: “We expect the study’s findings will be very useful to contextualise the statistics issued by the Department of Health on the numbers of people accessing the service during 2019.”
“Fieldwork for the study is well underway with the support of a sample of providers including GPs, women’s health clinics and hospitals across Ireland.”
“The project was due to report in December 2020 but due to disruption of COVID-19, will now report at the end of March 2021.”
“The findings of this research will inform HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme service planning and development and provide an evidence base to inform the review of the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 scheduled for 2021.”
The current legislation will be reviewed in 2021.
Figures published today by the Department of Health showed that 6,666 terminations were carried out last year after the enactment of legislation after the repeal of the eighth amendment.
The vast majority of these, 6,542 terminations, were carried out in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.
In a further 100 cases, an abortion was carried out due to a condition that was likely to lead to the death of the foetus, according to the Department of Health.
In twelve cases, there was a risk to life or health of the mother, and in three cases, there was a risk to life or health in an emergency case.
According to the Journal, although abortion services are available in all of Ireland’s 19 maternity hospitals, only 10 have fully implemented the service.