The UK's Biggest Abortion Provider Will Now Have To Turn Away Irish Women To Meet Demands

One of the UK's most influential family planning charities, Marie Stopes International, has revealed it will no longer be able to provide services to Irish women because of rising demand

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With news the Republicans plan to defund Planned Parenthood and Oklahoma state legislators have filed around a dozen bills threatening abortion – with one even requiring 'spousal consent' – it comes with great sadness that Britain's largest abortion provider has announced it will now have to turn away Irish women from its clinics.

FYI - mainland Irish women cannot get abortions in their own country due to a piece of legislation that we have outlined further below.

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According to the Independent, a spokeswoman for the family planning charity, Marie Stopes International, has revealed it would now prioritise the needs of UK-based clients referred by the NHS due to growing demand.

While Irish women requiring their services who have already booked appointments will still be treated, the spokesperson said: 'We're looking at our capacity across the country. Irish women may have to go to slightly different locations to access our services.'

Different locations include the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), however, they too are reportedly feeling the pressure.

According to UK Government figures, more than 3,400 Irish women were found to have travelled to Britain for an abortion in 2015, accounting for the largest number of non-UK nationals having an abortion in the country.

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However, while there is concern regarding access to abortion services for women from Ireland – where, under Irish law, abortion is only legal when the mother's life is in danger – the Marie Stopes spokeswoman highlighted that the restrictions would only be in place temporarily.

She told The Times: 'January and February are always the busiest times of year and we are currently managing high demand by referring some women to other providers to ensure they can be seen as soon as possible.

'Our priority is ensuring women obtain the earliest possible appointment and we are working with organisations in Ireland to ensure provision is there for women who go via their networks.'

While demand for abortions for NHS clients at Marie Stopes International is high, she urges women who have 'difficulty finding another provider' to call the organisation's helpline.

January and February are always the busiest times of year and we are currently managing high demand by referring some women to other providers.

The news comes months after two Irish women anonymously live-tweeted their journey to the UK for an abortion to address the on-going injustice facing women in Ireland, and another case that saw an Irish couple receive compensation from the government after the mother was forced to obtain a termination for her child, with congenital defects, in England.

The 'Repeal the 8th' campaign – referring to the repayment of the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution that gives explicit recognition of 'the right to life of the unborn' equal to that of its mother – continues to fight for the amendment to be scrapped in order to protect Irish citizens.

You can't ban abortion, only safe abortions.

We hope 2017 will be the year Ireland, and the world, sees improved laws regarding reproductive rights.

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