Committee hears abortion should be integrated into health system

The World Health Organisation says the HSE should provide abortions as part of the national health service if abortion is legislated for here.

Two representatives from the WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and research were among those before the committee today.

The Committee has heard the use of medicines to induce abortion has become commonplace here as the number of women travelling to the UK for terminations has halved.

Dr Ronald Johnson of the WHO said national evidence-based standards and guidelines for a safe abortion should be developed and regularly updated.

According to RTÉ, he said: "As far as we know, and this is in the guidelines, there are no known risks for breast cancer, for future reproduction, for mental health.

"The risks are no greater for women who have an abortion than the general population."

He said services should be delivered in a way that respects a woman's dignity, guarantees her right to privacy and is sensitive to her needs and perspectives.

The Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin says he does not believe abortions are ever carried out as a result of a wrong diagnosis.

Dr Fergal Malone said genetic diagnoses are black and white.

"We would never suggest or see a woman travelling for a pregnancy termination for a risk of a condition.

"We would always recommend, 100% of cases, that a patient would have a formal diagnostic test, like an amniocentesis or a CVS, so that does not get the diagnosis wrong."

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