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Over 6,500 pregnancy terminations were carried out in Ireland last year

The vast majority of the terminations were carried out in early pregnancy.

Stock photo.
Stock photo.
Image: Shutterstock/ESB Professional

NEW FIGURES REVEAL that more than 6,500 pregnancy terminations were carried out in Ireland last year.

According to the second Annual Report on the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, a total of 6,577 terminations were carried out in 2020. 

The figure represents a slight drop on the previous year, when 6,666 terminations were carried out.

The vast majority of the terminations (6,455) were carried out under section 12 of the act, which permits termination without restriction up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

A total of 97 were carried out because of a fatal foetal anomaly, 20 took place due to a risk to life or health and the remaining five were carried out under section 10 of the act, where there is risk to life or health of the pregnant woman in an emergency.

Dublin was the woman or girl’s county of residence in the case of 2,414 of the terminations, 645 lived in Cork, 278 lived in Limerick and 274 in Galway.

The report showed that Northern Ireland was the place of residence notified in 36 cases, while eight notifications recorded the place of residence as outside of Ireland.

The highest number of terminations (709) took place in the month of January.

The Abortion Rights Campaign said the statistics show that abortion is “very much an essential service.”

Campaign spokesperson Helen Stonehouse said: “What is not captured in this report is how many people were refused abortion in Ireland, how many had to travel long distances within Ireland or beyond, and how much distress was caused by the unnecessary barriers within the current abortion law.

Despite the legalisation of abortion, we know that many people continue to face stigma and shame when accessing abortion care in Ireland.

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Anti-abortion campaigners labelled the figures “devastating”.

“It is an outrage that over €20 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on abortion provision to date and not a cent on positive alternatives to abortion,” Eilís Mulroy of the Pro Life Campaign said.

Data published by the British department of health and social care earlier this month revealed that 194 abortions were performed on women and girls who gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland in 2020. 

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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