The HSE paid out €2.9 million in fees to doctors providing abortions in 2019 alone, a sum described by Independent TD Carol Nolan as “staggering”. The sum only covers the cost of abortion in a community setting – usually GPs – and does not cover the cost of aborting babies in hospitals.

6,666 abortions took place in Ireland in 2019, according to the Department of Health, more than twice the number of Irish women who travelled to Britain seeking to end their pregnancies in 2018.

Pro-life group, Life Institute, said that the size of the payment, revealed in an answer to a question submitted by Deputy Nolan, showed the government priority was funding abortion rather than supporting women.

“These numbers show that some doctors are literally making a killing from the new abortion regime,” the Life Institute said. “GPs are being paid almost twice as much to provide an abortion than they would make from caring for a woman in pregnancy, and for some doctors, abortion is clearly a profitable undertaking.”

The National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) previously pointed out that the HSE pays GPs approximately €450 to provide an abortion but just €250 to look after a woman during pregnancy.

The payment of €2.9 million for abortions was revealed by an answer from the HSE to a question asked by Independent TD for Offaly, Carol Nolan.

“The fact that the HSE paid out €2.9 million in fees to abortion providing GP’s is truly staggering, especially when you consider that an almost equal amount of funding (€3.1million) was allocated for the implementation of the entire National Women and Infants Health Programme (NWIHP) in 2019,” she said.

“So, what we now need to know is whether or not the money that was paid out in fees for abortion has led to any kind of reduction or withdrawal of funding for any other maternal and infant health services that are carried out as part of the NWIH Programme,” Deputy Nolan asked.

“When you put this information, and the recent annual report on the number of abortions that took place in 2019 together, what we now have is an emerging sense of how much abortion is going to “cost” in terms of the loss of human life and the financial resources that could be better spent at the community level,” she said.

“It is also clear however that the fees of €2.9 million do not represent anything like the true financial cost because that number only refers to abortions which took place at 9 weeks or under in a community setting. It takes no account of the costs associated with the delivery of abortion ‘services’ beyond 9 weeks and which have to take place in our maternity hospitals,” she said.