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Recession causes more Irish women to turn to abortion

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The Well Women Center in Dublin has said that one in five, of the 2,000 who contacted the center last year, said financial concerns were their reason for considering abortion.

Chief executive Alison Begas said that many of the women who contacted them in 2009 were married with other children. Many were also professionals who had their salary or hours cut or their partners had lost their jobs.

This information was compiled in three Well Women Centers around Dublin. The centers offer non-directive counseling.

The information was released just ahead of the Well Woman annual report. The report also shows that the group counsel women aged from their late teens to their 40s who include lawyers, managing directors, housewives and students.

Beagas said that in the past if a woman had cited finances as a reason for getting an abortion it was so their money could be spent on travelling or other pursuits. 

She said “It’s only one other aspect of how the recession is impacting on women’s health . . . it’s insidious the way it hits people,” she said.

“We would see probably a couple of thousand women a year of all ages. What we have found in the last year in about 15 to 20 percent of the pregnancy counseling services is that the woman was specifically citing income worries and issues around financial security as reasons for attending.

“When counselors delved deeper into that, it was either she might have lost her job recently or had her hours or salary reduced or there was a fear that was on the horizon. Or similarly that may have happened to her husband or partner.

“Sometimes these were married couples with one or two children and everything was very, very tight [financially] and considering continuing with the pregnancy was something they felt unable to do…What we have also heard from younger women, maybe in university facing a crisis pregnancy, is they were not confident they would immediately get a job on graduation or secure a job with an income that would allow them cover crèche fees.”

 “We will discuss with a woman her three options including abortion, adoption and parenting. We cannot and do not offer any advice. We do not try to persuade her,” she said.

Unfortunately due to the Well Woman Centers policy on advice giving Begas could not say whether or not the woman has gone through with the abortions.

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