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Fall in numbers travelling to England and Wales for abortion

4,149 people travelled to England and Wales for an abortion in 2011, down by 5.7 per cent on the previous year.

Abortions are available to British residents through the National Health Service.
Abortions are available to British residents through the National Health Service.
Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire

THE NUMBER OF women travelling to England or Wales for an abortion fell by over 5 per cent last year.

A total of 4,149 women with addresses in the Republic presented themselves for an abortion in the two countries last year, figures from the UK’s Department of Health show.

The figure is down by 5.75 per cent on the previous year, when 4,402 had travelled. The 2010 figure, in turn, was down by 20 from 2009.

The latest figures mark the ninth year in succession that the number of women giving addresses within the Republic has fallen. The Department of Health in Britain only began publishing detailed data in 2002.

In that year, 6,522 women presented Irish addresses, with the number falling steadily each year since by varying amounts.

The largest fall came between 2004 and 2007, when the number dropped from 6,217 to 4,686 – a relative decrease of almost a quarter.

In all, 189,931 abortions were carried out in England and Wales in 2011, an increase of 357 on the previous year and up by 7.7 per cent in the previous decade.

Of those, 6,151 were administered to women living outside England or Wales; women from the Republic counted for two-thirds of this, while women from the North made up another 16 per cent.

The numbers do not include those who travel to Scotland; the Scottish Department of Health does not routinely offer a breakdown of the women seeking a termination within its jurisdiction.

Read: Cardinal appeals for abortion referendum – but minister sees no need

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