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Tuesday, 13th June 2017

Oireachtas Special Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution must ensure that women have access to care in Ireland


The UK Department of Health has today (13.06.17) released abortion statistics from 2016, which reveal that 3,265 women and girls gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in England and Wales, bringing the number to 168,703 since 1980.


Commenting on these latest figures, Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) Chief Executive, Niall Behan said: “These reports are an annual indictment of Ireland’s treatment of pregnant women. The State excludes women who opt not to continue unintended pregnancies from the healthcare system, forcing them to seek care outside of Ireland. This is reproductive coercion.


“The IFPA hears from the women behind these statistics every day. They come from all walks of life and from every county in Ireland. The vast majority are in their 20s or 30s. They find themselves in circumstances where the decision not to continue an unintended pregnancy is the right one for them. Abortion should be a private decision between a woman and her doctor, but they are abandoned by the State and forced to seek care in another country. This ejection from the Irish healthcare system imposes physical, emotional and financial costs on pregnant women.”


He added: “Not everyone has the means to access UK abortion clinics. We know from our services of women forced to continue pregnancies against their wishes, and increasing numbers of women are accessing the abortion pill online without proper medical supervision.”


“The State can no longer ignore the harm to women’s health and wellbeing caused by the denial of abortion services. The Citizens’ Assembly has given the Government a clear imperative to reform the law. It is time to prioritise pregnant women’s needs over political considerations and provide the care that over 3,000 women are denied every year.”




Contact: Sarah Maloney, IFPA Communications Assistant, Tel: 01-6074456 / 086-7952167, Email:


Notes to Editors:

  • In 2016, 3,265 women and girls provided Republic of Ireland addresses at abortion clinics throughout England and Wales, with 48% aged between 20 – 29 and 37% were between 30 – 39 years old.
  • Women from Ireland tend to access abortion later than those living in the UK, with 69% of women from the Republic of Ireland doing so between three and nine weeks gestation. The figure for women resident in England and Wales is 81%.
  • Women from the Republic of Ireland constituted the majority (67.9%) of non-UK residents who accessed abortion services in England and Wales in 2016.
  • The 2016 statistics released today by the UK Department of Health are available here.
  • A summary of statistics released by the UK Department of Health between 1980 and 2016 is available here.


About the Irish Family Planning Association

Founded in 1969, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) is Ireland’s leading pregnancy counselling agency, providing over 50% of all pregnancy counselling services funded by the Irish State. The IFPA provides free and confidential pregnancy and post-abortion counselling, delivered by accredited and trained counsellors, at eleven locations nationwide. It is the only national pregnancy counselling service that provides information on abortion, parenting and adoption. The IFPA also provides a comprehensive range of medical, education and training services on a not-for-profit basis. The IFPA National Pregnancy Helpline is 1890 49 50 51.