Thursday 29 November marks the 30th anniversary since sexual health charity FPA opened the only non-directive Pregnancy Choices Counselling Service in Northern Ireland. We’re delighted to be celebrating our anniversary by launching our new Post Pregnancy Counselling Service.
Since launching in 1988, FPA has provided counselling to thousands of women impacted by Northern Ireland’s severely restrictive abortion laws, and witnessed the devastating impact the law has on women and their families.
In line with the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) Review of Perinatal Mental Health Services, FPA recognises the need for women to be able to access counselling support post pregnancy. Our new Post Pregnancy Counselling Service addresses issues such as pregnancy loss, traumatic birth and postnatal depression or anxiety.
Heather Low, FPA’s Counselling Coordinator said:
“Over the past 30 years FPA has witnessed the devastating impact that Northern Ireland’s abortion law has on women and their families. The law means women have to deal with a very public, legal judgment, on what is a very private and personal experience. Without exception, we have never had a woman say that they think the law is fit for purpose, and collectively they feel let down.
“I am extremely privileged to have been witness to the courage and strength, thoughts and feelings of women who have attended our service and have allowed me to share their experience at that difficult point in their lives. Having listened to women for many years, I am now delighted to be part of launching our new Post Pregnancy Counselling Service and hope that women continue to see FPA as an organisation they can come to for support with their experience of pregnancy.”
With modern abortion legislation due to be established in Ireland in 2019, Northern Ireland will soon be the only place in the British Isles where women are denied an abortion in almost every circumstance.
FPA’s Advocacy Manager, Ruairi Rowan said:
“We have now reached almost two years without a government in Northern Ireland. With no resolution in sight, it is essential the UK Government changes the law. We call on them to urgently decriminalise abortion and to bring this outdated, ineffective and inhumane law into the 21st century. FPA will continue to care for women forced to travel for healthcare they should be able to receive at home.”