The country voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the Eighth Amendment, with over two million votes cast. President Michael D Higgins signed the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which legalised abortion in Ireland, on 20 December.
The services are provided by the Health Service Executive, through GP’s or family planning services, and in maternity units and hospitals nationwide.
Following last year’s referendum, people can now access an abortion in Ireland under specific circumstances. There are currently 187 GPs signed up to abortion services in the country, out of a possible 3,500.
Abortion care will be free of charge to people who need it. Approximately 20 women availed of consultations on the first day of operation in Ireland.
The women who pursued the service were referred to a GP who is signed on to be referred by the MyOptions helpline. Any woman who was more than nine weeks pregnant would have been referred to a local hospital that provided the service.
Considering that there is a compulsory three day ‘cool-off period’ before an abortion can take place, the first legal abortion couldn’t take place until the fourth of January.
The HSE has advised the public to be wary of fake websites advertising the newly launched MyOptions helpline for abortion services. However, some users may have found themselves visiting a false MyOptions web page today when trying to find the online service.
The bogus site lists an Irish mobile number and email address as the contact information, promising to “start solving problems again”.
The site says, “Call us now and book a free ultrasound if you are thinking about termination and need to know how far pregnant you are and all you need to know to be fully informed”. It is linked to an anonymous Facebook page, which shared videos promoting to “save lives and stop abortion” back in May 2018.
The HSE has encouraged people to look out for fake websites and to ensure all sources of information are reputable To reach the HSE MyOptions helpline, the number is 1800 828 010. The website is at http://www.myoptions.ie and they carry the HSE logo.