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More than 3,500 women from Ireland travelled to the UK for abortions last year

Since 1980, at least 158,252 women have travelled to the UK to access abortion services.

Image: abortion via Shutterstock

LAST YEAR OVER 3,500 women from Ireland travelled to the UK for abortions.

The UK Department of Health published figures today on abortion Statistics for England and Wales in 2013.

It found that 3,679 women who gave Irish addresses had an abortion in the UK last year. Those figures are down from 3,982 in 2012, a decrease of 7.6 per cent.

The total number of abortions carried out in England and Wales during 2013 was 190,800, that is 0.1 per cent more than in 2012.

Last year, there were 5,469 abortions carried out on women living outside England and Wales, compared with 5,850 in 2012.

Sixty-seven per cent of them came from the Republic of Ireland, while 15 per cent were from Northern Ireland.

Since 1980, at least 158,252 women have travelled to the UK to access abortion services.

Reaction

The figures published today do not give reasons for the drop in figures. Campaign groups from both sides of the abortion debate have commented on the findings.

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) described the numbers as a “modern indictment of the State’s treatment of women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies”.

IFPA CEO Niall Behan said:

Every day our clients tell us about their experiences of being abandoned by the Irish health care system and forced to rely on the services of another country.

“These women are not criminals but the law treats them as such because they are seeking a service that is illegal in almost every circumstance in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, The Life Institute has welcome the decrease in the number of Irish women having abortions over the last year.

Spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain said, “This is good news: the decrease is significant and, while every abortion is a tragedy, it was important that women continue to realise that there were always better options than abortion.

The number of Irish women travelling for abortions has been falling steadily since 2001, as supports for mothers in crisis have improved and awareness of the humanity of the unborn children has improved.

Read: Large numbers turn out for pro-life vigil in Dublin>

Read: The abortion debate – what happens next?>

Read: Ireland’s abortion laws to be challenged at the UN for a second time>

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