Table 3

Free text responses for those that believed the health of a woman suffered as a result of travelling

How health was effectedSpecific quotations
Physical‘Physically—I've seen women come back from abroad with intrauterine infections that could have been otherwise avoided’.
‘Potential for discharge early to enable travel plans’.
‘Personally, I have treated women who return with retained products or sepsis secondary to an abortion who have been suffering at home as they felt they couldn't attend their local GP/hospital for fear of repercussion’.
‘If there's a complication they attend for follow up in an Irish hospital where there may not be access to patient records’.
Psychological‘Mental health due to isolation, lack of family and medical support, stigma’.
‘Emotionally, lacking support of being at home receiving care with support from family/friends’.
‘Mental health … made feel guilt/ ashamed’.
‘The financial and psychological burden of having to leave your jurisdiction, potentially alone, to undertake what is never an easy decision can only but negatively affect a woman's mental health’.
‘In the instances of wanted pregnancy with fetal abnormalities also results in inability to have fetal remains to aid grieving processes’.
‘The need to keep travel a secret infers a sense of shame. One feels unable to confide in family/ friends thus causing feelings of isolation/depression’.
Social‘Lack of social support and further stress from financial issues’.
‘Stigmatisation, isolation’.
‘Shame/embarrassment regarding accessing services in Ireland following ToP’.
‘Financially—it is expensive to have to travel for an abortion, thus it means many women are forced to continue with pregnancies that are unwanted which in itself causes psychological distress’.
‘My experience is mainly in cases of fetal anomalies—we should not be in a position to provide prenatal diagnosis if we do not have the facilities to follow through and provide a service when women make the choice to terminate based on either a lethal or other fetal anomaly … The situation is far from ideal and while my own personal opinion is to protect unborn life, I feel the individual has the right to choose, particularly in the setting of fetal anomaly. The way we currently care for these women is suboptimal to put it mildly’.
  • GP, general practitioners; ToP, termination of pregnancy.