Abortion approval by telephone may continue after Covid crisis

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has refused to say that the system of remote or home access to abortion will cease to happen after the Covid-19 crisis comes to an end.

The Minister was responding to a Parliamentary Question submitted by Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan. Deputy Nolan asked if “the revised model of care for the termination of pregnancy which currently permits the use of telemedicine will be maintained beyond the period of the Covid-19 emergency.”

In response, Minister Donnelly said that the arrangement allowing access to abortion via telemedicine “will be reviewed” once the public health emergency is declared over.

Commenting on this development, spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign, Dr Kirsten Fuller said: “Minister Donnelly’s assurances about bringing the practice of telemedicine abortions to an end falls short of the commitment given by his predecessor as Health Minister, Simon Harris, who clearly stated that telemedicine abortions would only continue until the end of the Covid-19 crisis.

Dr Fuller continued: “Minister Donnelly needs to issue a more explicit statement clarifying that he intends to cease the practice of telemedicine abortions, a practice that as well as ending the lives of unborn babies also potentially puts the lives of pregnant women at risk as it does not involve a face to face consultation between the woman and her doctor before the abortion.