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Continued reliance on UK to provide abortion services unacceptable – IFPA  

By 22 June 2023News

UK Department of Health and Social Care statistics show that residents of Ireland still forced to rely on England and Wales for essential healthcare


A total of 85 people gave Irish addresses when accessing abortion in England and Wales in the first half of 2022. Some 98% of these were more than 12 weeks pregnant and ineligible for termination services in Ireland due to legal restrictions. The vast majority of those who traveled (69%) were aged in their 30s and 40s.

Commenting on the statistics, Irish Family Planning Association Chief Executive, Niall Behan said: “These figures reaffirm that the current abortion law excludes some women, girls, and pregnant people from the Irish healthcare system.”

Mr. Behan continued: “This denial of care is degrading and discriminatory. It violates the right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. No one should have to leave the country to access abortion care.”

The release of these figures follows the Independent Review by barrister Marie O’Shea of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, which provides a detailed analysis of the reasons for travel to other States and the physical, emotional, financial and logistical challenges associated with having to obtain abortion care abroad.

Mr. Behan said: “These statistics provide further evidence of the urgent need for law reform. It is clear that the rigid and arbitrary 12-week gestational limit constitutes a major barrier for some people seeking abortion care. The Government has a responsibility, along with the broader Oireachtas, to take public health evidence seriously and act accordingly. It is critical that the Minister for Health brings forward amendments to the 2018 Act to end the harms of forced travel for abortion care.”

“The continued reliance on the UK health system to provide essential healthcare to Irish residents is unacceptable. Today’s figures, combined with the O’Shea report, provide a clear imperative that demands a political response. The Government must take all necessary steps to support the development of fully accessible, quality abortion services that meet the needs of every pregnant person.”


Contact: Victoria Verrastro, IFPA Communications Officer, Email:, Tel: 086-795 2167.