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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

A new article, Analysing MyOptions: experiences of Ireland's abortion information and support service, written by Aideen O'Shaughnessy and colleagues, has been publisjed in the BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health journal.

After the repeal of the 8th amendment in 2018, the provision of legal abortion care in Ireland was expanded under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act. Alongside the Act, a state-run helpline called 'MyOptions' was set up to provide information and counselling services to abortion-seekers. This article analyses Irish abortion-seekers experiences with the MyOptions helpline. It argues that there continues to be a distinct lack of public awareness in Ireland around how and where to access an abortion. Moreover, since the MyOptions helpline only provides the details of abortion-providers but does not directly arrange appointments or referrals for abortion-seekers, the onus of responsibility and the material and emotional labour associated with scheduling appointments and arranging care remains on the shoulders of the abortion-seeking person. Additionally, MyOptions does not provide information on abortion-seekers who are over 12 weeks pregnant, meaning that those who 'time-out' of the legal provision window are often left without any substantive direction or support. Conclusively, this article advocates that the addition of an appointments booking service to the MyOptions helpline and the inclusion of guidance on how to access abortions for medical reasons post-12 weeks would greatly improve the experience of Irish abortion seekers.

Read the full article here.