THE HSE has declined to divulge how many GPs in Laois have registered to provide abortion services.
Despite repeated attempts by the Laois Nationalist, the HSE would not say how many local doctors are offering the services. This comes on the back of the news that Portlaoise hospital is not providing abortion services.
Since 1 January, following last year’s referendum, women now have legal access to abortion in Ireland under specific circumstances.
Nine hospitals nationwide are offering abortion services. The HSE says that about 200 family doctors (up to yesterday, Monday 7 January) countrywide are providing support and services to women seeking an abortion.
Since last Thursday, 3 January, the Laois Nationalist has contacted three separate HSE “communications” or “press” office, but our queries went unanswered.
The HSE was asked: “How many (if any) GPs in Laois are offering abortion services? If none, will you inform us how women can contact the nearest GP who will offer this service?”
When we eventually spoke with a HSE press officer, she said the number of GPs offering abortion services in Laois could not be provided, as the figure was increasing nationally on a daily basis.
She pointed out that the HSE had set up a freephone number (1800 828010) and an online website MyOptions, which provides free and confidential information and counselling to people experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
She said that those who contact the freephone number will be provided with the name of their nearest GP in Laois who is providing abortion services.
When contacted, a spokesperson for MyOptions said that while part of its role is to provide the individual caller with the name of a GP in Laois, it was not their role to answer media queries. They said that particular function was the responsibility of the HSE press office.