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UK abortion statistics show women and girls still travelling to UK abortion services from every county in Ireland

By June 11, 2020News

IFPA says no one should need to leave Ireland for abortion care

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) says the latest abortion statistics from England and Wales, released today (11.06.20), show that not all women and girls who need abortion care are able to access it in Ireland.

Abortion services became available in Ireland in January last year. However, figures released today show that 375 women and girls left Ireland to access abortion in UK clinics during 2019.

IFPA Chief Executive, Niall Behan said: “The statistics show what we already knew: not everyone in Ireland who needs abortion care can access it here at home; either because their pregnancy falls outside the law or because care is not accessible locally.”

The UK Department of Health and Social Care reports that of the women and girls who gave Irish addresses when accessing abortion in England or Wales, 17% (65) were at less than 10 weeks gestation.

Niall Behand said: “At least one woman a day continues to travel abroad for abortion. These women and girls are from every county in Ireland. They should have been able to access care at home: we know that at least 65 of the 375 had a legal entitlement under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

“Women who need access to abortion after 12 weeks are still travelling in significant numbers (277 in 2019). They include women and couples who have received a diagnosis of severe foetal anomaly and who are excluded from care under Irish law.”

Mr Behan continued: “We should be proud of the way abortion care has been integrated into mainstream healthcare in Ireland. And we should be extremely proud of the committed and conscientious providers—including IFPA staff—who are ensuring that women have access to this care, including during the coronavirus pandemic.

“But the reality is that women who do not meet the legal criteria for abortion must endure the physical, emotional and financial burdens of travelling abroad for healthcare. This is unacceptable.”

Mr Behan concluded: “The new government must ensure that the 2021 review of the abortion law focuses on enhancing access to abortion care so that no one is left behind.”

ENDS

Contact: Maeve Taylor, Director of Advocacy and Communications, Tel: 086 795 2167

Note to Editors

  • Abortion in Ireland is regulated by the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. So long as a three-day waiting period has elapsed, abortion care is lawful on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is also lawful for reasons of risk to a woman’s life or of serious harm to her health and in cases of fatal foetal anomaly. Abortion remains criminalised in all other cases. However, the criminal provisions do not apply to a woman in respect of her own pregnancy. Abortion is free to persons normally resident in Ireland.
  • The IFPA is Ireland’s leading sexual health provider. The organisation offers a comprehensive range of services which promote sexual health and support reproductive choice on a not-for-profit basis, and promotes the right of all people to comprehensive, dedicated and affordable sexual and reproductive health information and services.
  • The 2019 abortion statistics for England and Wales can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2019