NI Women Will Have to Pay for Abortions in Republic
Women in Northern Ireland will have to cover the cost of pregnancy tests, scans and abortion drugs if they want to have an abortion in a hospital in the Republic. The HSE has advised doctors that it now has a mechanism in place for women from Northern Ireland. The result is that women from NI will have to pay at least €400 if they are having an abortion in Irish hospitals.
The Irish government previously said it wanted abortions to be available to women from NI, while abortion remains illegal there. There were concerns, however, that this might be illegal, and Simon Harris, the health minister, has sought the attorney-general’s advice on this question.
Now the HSE has said that for a GP-provided abortion, up to nine weeks, Northern Irish women would have to pay an estimated €100 for pregnancy tests and abortion pills, though the cost may vary from doctor to doctor. They would also need to pay for any required blood tests or ultrasound scans.
Between nine and 12 weeks, abortions must be carried out in hospital. The HSE said that the cost of the procedure was €407, which women from the North would have to pay as well as potential consultant fees from gynaecologists, radiologists and haematologists. “Consultants may have different private fee schedules so the person is best advised to contact the relevant hospital directly to enquire as to the fees,” the HSE said.
At a meeting in Westminster last week, an official from the Northern Ireland Attorney General’s office said that doctors who helped women to travel for abortions could be guilty of “aiding and abetting” a criminal offence. “Even if the final act takes place in England, if there is harmful consequences in Northern Ireland then assisting could still be an offence,” she said.
The Times. March 5.