It's understood about 20 women from across the country sought terminations yesterday, since abortion services became legal on 1st January.

The MyOptions helpline, set up by the HSE as a referral path for women seeking an abortion, came into service yesterday and was said to be "busy but not overwhelmed" on its first day.

Because of the 3-day cooling off period, it will be next week before the first terminations are carried out.

Just 187 of the State's 3,500 GPs have signed up to provide abortion services up to 9 weeks of pregnancy.

The list of GPs has not been published, as many fear being targeted by anti-abortion activists, but women who ring the freephone number will be given details of their nearest provider.

There are currently nine hospitals in the State willing to provide terminations - including Mayo and Galway University Hospitals - at 9 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

 

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