Thursday, 7th June 2018
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) says the latest abortion statistics from England and Wales show that the proposed primary-care model for abortion services in Ireland is practical and achievable.
IFPA Chief Executive Niall Behan said: "The UK report gives us important insights that should inform the type of abortion care we introduce to Ireland. The statistics show that the vast majority of UK residents who access terminations – 77% – have abortions at or under nine weeks' gestation. Only 0.2% of all women who have abortions require overnight care."
The 2017 figures were released today, Thursday 7th June, by the UK Department of Health and the Office for National Statistics. The report shows that 3,092 women gave Irish addresses when accessing abortion care in England or Wales last year. That number is down by 173 from 2016.
Mr Behan continued: "Although the report cannot provide a definitive Irish abortion rate, as the figures don’t account for the growing trend of women accessing still-illegal abortion pills online, it shows us that women from Ireland tend to have abortions later due to the extra burdens of travel. The provision of legal care in Ireland will mean women in this country will no longer face unnecessary delays accessing services. We expect that the overwhelming majority of women who need terminations will have early medical abortions. This type of care is deliverable at a primary healthcare level."
Mr Behan said the legislation under preparation must provide for woman-centred care based on best international practice.
"We have an opportunity to get services right from the very beginning," he said. "There should be no reason for women to opt for unregulated pills online. Women and girls need to be able to get abortion care in the place that's best for them – whether that's a local GP clinic or a specialist reproductive health centre like the IFPA. And cost must never be a barrier."