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IFPA Responds to Latest UK Abortion Stats

By May 10, 2009News

Press Release – May 21 2009

  • Small Decline in Number of Women Travelling to England and Wales for Abortions is Disappointing
  • IFPA Says Funding Cuts to Family Planning Budgets will Affect Unwanted Pregnancy Rates

The Irish Family Planning Association says that abortion figures released today by the UK Department of Health Statistics Office are disappointing.

According to the statistics, a total of 4,600 women resident in Ireland travelled to England and Wales for terminations in 2008. This represents a reduction of just 86 women on the previous year.

While this is the seventh year in a row that numbers have fallen, in previous years the decline had been much more significant. In 2007 there was a reduction of 356 in the number of women travelling to England and Wales for a termination and in 2006 the decline 540.

International evidence indicates that the most effective way to bring about a reduction in unplanned pregnancies is to improve access to comprehensive family planning services, according to the IFPA’s chief executive Niall Behan. Despite this there have been funding cuts in family planning services in Ireland, he says.

Mr Behan points out, however, that today’s figures are not an accurate reflection of the numbers of women who travel abroad to access termination services.

“An increasing number of women attending the IFPA’s post-abortion medical services and counselling are indicating that they had terminations in other EU states, such as Holland, Spain and Belgium has grown very significantly.”

It has emerged that significant numbers of Irish women are travelling to the Netherlands in particular for terminations, he explains.

The fact that 4,600 Irish women travelled to Britain for abortions in 2008 is further evidence of the need for domestic-based abortion services, he concluded.

* Between 1980 and 2008, at least 137,584 women travelled from Ireland for termination services in Britain.

ENDS