Thursday, September 30, 2010

Medical Independent: IFPA calls for tougher stance on rogue crisis pregnancy agencies

September 30, 2010
Dawn O'Shea

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is calling on the Government to introduce statutory regulations for all pregnancy advice services which set out minimum codes of practice and standards.

According to the IFPA’s recently released 2009 Annual Report: “Rogue crisis pregnancy agencies continue to operate unchecked in Ireland, causing considerable distress to women who unwittingly attend their services”.

Last year, 18 women attended the IFPA for counselling after a negative experience at the hands of “rogue agencies” and the Association says it is certain that these figures “represent just the tip of the iceberg”.

Women attending the IFPA described being “harassed, bullied and being given blatantly false information” by these agencies.
The IFPA also voiced its concern surrounding the difficulty experienced by women with travel restrictions in accessing safe and legal abortion services abroad.

Women, such as those seeking asylum or migrant workers, seeking a termination abroad must apply for a visa from the country to which they will be travelling as well as a re-entry visa for Ireland.

According to the IFPA, the process of applying for these travel documents is “complex, expensive and can take several weeks”.
Combined with the financial cost of accessing a termination abroad, such situations may force women to parent against their will or to resort to illegal methods to terminate their pregnancies in Ireland, the Association said.