Press Release

Minister announces establishment of New Crisis Pregnancy Agency

The Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin, T.D., announced today (2 October 2001) that he is setting up a new statutory agency to combat crisis pregnancy.

The Crisis Pregnancy Agency will draw up a national strategy to address crisis pregnancy promote options (other than abortion) where a crisis pregnancy occurs and provide for post-abortion services. The Agency will also have responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the strategy.

“It will work with a wide range of organisations, not just in the health sector but also, for example, in education, employment and housing. The Government is providing €6.5m to fund the new Agency in 2002,” the Minister said.

Preventative issues concerning education of young people and adults, as well as services appropriate to their needs and lifestyles, will be addressed.

The Minister added “Much concern has been expressed about the need to make women more aware of their options, should they have a crisis pregnancy, and to enable them to consider these carefully and to assist them before making decisions about the course of action they want to take. This is another major area to be addressed by the Agency.”

The Minister said that the agency would also address issues, which arise for women after a crisis pregnancy. “Women who have had an abortion also have real needs. They must be treated with compassion and understanding and both their emotional and physical health needs must be attended to,” said the Minister. The Agency will include Post-abortion counselling and medical check-ups in the range of issues it will examine.

The Government´s proposals for legislative and constitutional change regarding the protection of human life in pregnancy are only part of the response to the issue of crisis pregnancy. “The Crisis Pregnancy Agency will play a major role in the development of co-ordinated, responsive and appropriate services we hope will, over time, reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies among Irish women and give women in this situation the widest possible range of assistance to help them cope”, the Minister said.