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New figures show that 6,625 Irish women had abortions in Britain in 2001

By 22 May 2002October 8th, 2018News

– Release date: 23 May 2002

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has said that the latest abortion figures, released today by the National Statistics Office in Britain, show that abortion is a reality for an increasing number of Irish women and this cannot be ignored in the policy programme of the in-coming Government.

Figures for the last quarter of 2001 (October – December) show that 1,629 women, who provided Irish addresses, had abortions in Britain. Of those women, 1,189 were aged 20-34 years; 244 were under 20 years and a further 196 were aged 35 years or over.

In total, 6,625 women providing Irish addresses had abortions in Britain in 2001. This is the highest figure on record and represents an increase of 244 on the previous year.

"In spite of the highly-charged debate which preceded the Government's unsuccessful referendum on abortion, there has been little mention of crisis pregnancy and abortion since. During the election campaign, the Taoiseach, in particular, ran a mile from questions relating to this issue.

"However, today's figures confirm that abortion is a reality for a growing number of Irish women and it would be unacceptable for the in-coming Government to ignore the mandate from the abortion referendum defeat. Legislation for the X Case and a more realistic approach to Irish abortion must feature in the policy programme of the new Government."

The IFPA said that it was experiencing an increased demand for its non-directive pregnancy counselling service. However, financial constraints were preventing the expansion of this service. "The IFPA would like a situation whereby all girls and women travelling had the benefit of non-directive counselling before making their decision. However, the lack of funding has actually forced us to close some of our services, despite the increased demand for counselling.

"It is critical that the new Crisis Pregnancy Agency, which has been operational since the beginning of this year, actually begins to deliver funding and supports to agencies such as the IFPA. To date, the agency has been involved in consultations and inviting submissions. However, figures on abortion speak for themselves and the needs of Irish women travelling need to be responded to without delay," said Catherine Heaney, IFPA Assistant Chief Executive.

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