Accessing abortion outside jurisdiction following legalisation of abortion in the Republic of Ireland

A look at telemedical abortion access immediately following abortion’s legalisation in Ireland.

In January 2019, Ireland – after having some of the strictest abortion laws in the world – legalized abortion, which meant new reasons for seeking Women on Web’s services. This research looks at the impact legalization had on the demand for telemedical abortion outside Ireland’s jurisdiction and potential changes in the reasons for seeking care.

The research analyzes anonymized data from the year prior to legalization (January-March and October-December 2018) and compared them to the three months immediately following legalization (January-March 2019). The results yielded approximately half of the number of contacts after legalization as the previous year (103 vs. 221) and a significant drop in those receiving the service (72% to 26%). Reasons for seeking telemedical abortion services after legalization shifted from access related issues to stigma, privacy, and avoiding protestors.

The research concludes that although the number of individuals seeking telemedical services decreased, there was still a need for safe online telemedical abortion after legalization. In order to further address accessibility issues, policy and legislation should promote normalization of abortion, safe zones for providers, and expand access consideration to include instances of coercion and abuse, meaning including a role for telemedicine in local models of care.

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