Rise in women seeking post-abortion check-ups

The number of women attending post-abortion medical check-ups is on the rise despite a fall in terminations, it was revealed today.

Figures show that while fewer than 5,000 women travelled to the UK and Netherlands for abortions last year, almost 600 availed themselves of free health check-ups on their return.

Hundreds of others attended counselling sessions at more than 50 centres nationwide as they dealt with the emotions of having a termination.

The Crisis Pregnancy Agency said that, while the number having medical checks was still relatively low, the proportion was high compared with other countries.

Agency director Caroline Spillane said the provision of post-abortion services was vital.

“It is recommended that all women receive a medical check-up following an abortion procedure,” said Ms Spillane.

“And while every woman will experience different emotions following an abortion, it is important that women are aware that free counselling services are available at over 50 centres nationwide and free post-abortion medical checks are available in nine centres.”

It is estimated around 14% of women who gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in the UK and the Netherlands last year had post-abortion checks – up from 12% on the previous two years and 9% on 2005.

Experts recommend all women have a medical check-up three weeks after an abortion procedure. As well as confirming a pregnancy is over, it will check for any infections and discuss any contraceptive needs.

The agency said that, while the vast majority of women who experience crisis pregnancy will choose to have the child, approximately 15% decide to have an abortion.

Records have revealed a 12% drop in the number of women giving Irish addresses at abortion clinics in the UK and the Netherlands between 2005 and 2008 – but at the same time there was a 36% rise in post-abortion medical check-ups funded by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency.

Elsewhere women visiting the abortion aftercare.ie website between November and June was 8,434, while 1,398 text message requests were made for information.

Medics said that, while it was rare for any serious medical problems to occur after an abortion, anyone with prolonged or heavy bleeding or pain should contact a doctor.

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