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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 26 November, 2014

Stop exporting your abortion problem, Britain tells Ireland

The largest abortion provider in Britain has taken out an ad in an Irish newspaper saying: “We’ll care for your women until your government does”.

Anti-abortion protesters outside Leinster Hose ahead of a vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in July.
Anti-abortion protesters outside Leinster Hose ahead of a vote on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in July.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

THE LARGEST PROVIDER of abortions in Britain has told the Irish government to ‘stop washing its hands’ of women who travel abroad for an abortion.

The  British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has taken out an advertisement in The Irish Times newspaper today with the provocative slogan “We’ll care for your women until your government does”.

The organisation, which says it has treated ‘many thousands of women from Ireland’ over the past thirty years, says women from Ireland who have abortions are being “wilfully ignored by the political establishment” and that the recent abortion legislation “will do nothing to help the women we see in our clinics every day”.

“The women we see from Ireland are just like those from England – but made more desperate by the financial and emotional cost of having to travel,” said Ann Furedi, the chief executive of BPAS.

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The advertisement which ran today. (Image: BPAS)

BPAS said women from Ireland tend to have abortions later than average because they have to arrange travel and funding. The group said that almost one third of abortions for women from Ireland are carried out at 10 weeks and later, compared with just over a fifth of abortions for women from England.

The abortion provider said it had taken out the advertisement “in solidarity with the women who are denied legal, safe abortion in Ireland and those who campaign tirelessly for the legal change needed so women can access care at home”.

“No politician in a civilised country should force women to make a journey abroad for abortion care.” said Furedi. “The decision alone is a tough enough journey”.

The full  text of the advertisement reads:

As if deciding to have an abortion wasn’t enough of a journey

Almost 4,000 Irish women have to travel to Britain for help every year.

We’ll care for your women until your government does

The most recent figures show that 3,982 women – an average of almost 11 per day –  gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland when attending British clinics and hospitals for an abortion last year. The actual figure is likely to be even higher as not all women give their real address.

Government ministers – including Justice Minister Alan Shatter – have said there will be no more abortion legislation in the lifetime of this government, following the passing of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill earlier this year.

The current law allows for abortion to be carried out in Ireland only in cases of a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother.

Explainer: What will Ireland’s new abortion law change?

Read: Priest resigns from Mater Hospital board over decision to comply with abortion law >

Read: Abortion laws may not commence until next year >

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