IRELAND – Irish Family Planning Association statement on their information and support services

Last week, we reported that the @IrishFPA had to change the stock photos of women they use online and in their materials after learning that another group were using the same pictures to promote anti-abortion messages. Here is the IFPA’s statement in response to this:

“The IFPA’s website and health information leaflets are transparent about the IFPA’s values and services: we are a rights-based, women-centred service and we offer quality pregnancy counselling, early abortion care, post-abortion care, including counselling. We make clear that we respect our clients’ autonomy and support them through whatever decision they make.

“We are funded by the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. The welfare and well-being of our clients is paramount. We know from our services that women and girls find the experience of mistakenly engaging with anti-abortion advocates offensive, distressing or infuriating.

“The risk that someone seeking professional care from the IFPA’s accredited counsellors or other services might instead come into contact with a disingenuous anti-abortion group is one we take seriously. There is a wider issue here: anti-abortion activists are free to set up rogue agencies with the aim of preventing women from availing of abortion care. The attempts of anti-abortion groups to deceive and manipulate women to stop them from accessing an essential reproductive healthcare service has been widely reported and the courts have been involved…. This is a public health and a patient safety issue….

“The IFPA’s specialist pregnancy counselling team of accredited therapists provide pregnancy and post-abortion counselling at centres throughout Ireland and also via remote access. There is no cost. The service is also available to anyone who has experienced unwanted contact with a rogue anti-abortion group and would find it helpful to talk to a supportive and non-judgmental professional therapist. Lo call the IFPA on 1850 49 50 51.

“For the IFPA, what matters is that those who need support or information in relation to a pregnancy that is unintended or has become a crisis, or post-abortion care, get non-judgmental, non-stigmatising, respectful professional care.”

SOURCES: IFPA Statement, 17 August 2020 ; IFPA on Twitter, 11+17 August 2020 ; VISUAL: IFPA website