Abortion information available on Trinity Students’ Union (SU) website has been altered for publication in the SU Freshers’ Guide. TCD SU Welfare Officer, Orlaith Foley decided to amend abortion information to stress the need for students to speak personally with their welfare officer before taking such action.
Ms Foley explained that as Welfare Officer, she should be the “first port of call” for students requiring information on abortion procedures. However, she described the website as “merely secondary to that”. Ms Foley continued to say that she aims to provide information on all options available to interested students, yet she acknowledged that it was possible for students to obtain abortion information from the website while ignoring information on other available services.
Union of Students in Ireland (USI) President, Shane Kelly, explained that he feels that while all information should be given to students, students affected “need reassurance, and you cannot get reassurance or comfort from a flyer. It is very important to have the human touch”.
Stating that “everyone should talk to somebody before they take drastic action or go down a road that they can’t comeback from”, Mr Kelly argued the constituent welfare officer has a key role in giving all the information to students, yet claimed that published information would “absolutely not” suffice in providing students with the relevant information.
At the time of going to print, TCDSU’s website offered detailed information about the where students could access abortion facilities and an account of the physical consequences of a termination.
Students can access termination information without reading the alternative options. There are no restrictions attached to the website or pop-up disclaimers ensuring that all information regarding crisis pregnancy options is read by students.
Information regarding pregnancy terminations can be received from the SU in the absence of a face-to-face meeting with the welfare officer who must disclose information of all relevant options to the student.
Counselling and related services are obligated to provide impartial information to pregnant women about all options possible for them as stipulated in the ‘Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Act’ 1995.