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Drop in number of Irish women in UK for abortions

By editor - 18 May, 2016


New figures from the British Department of Health show that the number of women travelling from Ireland to Britain for an abortion has fallen by almost 48% since 2001.

In 2015, 3,451 women travelled from Ireland to England and Wales to have an abortion, down from 3,735 in 2014.

This represents a continual decline in the numbers since 2001 when the number of Irish abortions was at 6,673.

Welcoming the reduction in the number of abortions, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign said, “The further decline in the number of women travelling for an abortion is a positive development, particularly when you consider the serious adverse psychological effects of abortion for many women that are swept under the carpet far too much in public debate.”

The Life Institute also welcomed the continued fall in the number of Irish women travelling to Britain for an abortion.

Niamh Ui Bhriain of the Life Institute said that any decrease in abortion was always welcome, but that it was very encouraging to see such a persistent and consistent decline in the past 15 years.

“Clearly, despite the haranguing Ireland gets from abortion campaigners, we are getting it right in that women are increasingly seeking a better answer than abortion,” she said.

“Making better supports available; educating people as to the reality of the abortion and the humanity of the baby; helping women; these are better alternatives,” she said.

“In Britain the abortion rate is 20% – one in every five babies is killed by abortion, but the Irish rate is just 5%, and we welcome that low rate, and are working towards the day when abortion is not sought by any woman, in any jurisdiction.”

“There is always a better answer to an unexpected pregnancy than to kill the baby,” said the Life Institute spokeswoman.”

Ms Uí Bhriain said that it was “astonishing to see abortion advocates fail to welcome the fall in abortion, year on year.”

“Every year, it’s the same response. Abortion campaigners seem to be unhappy with the fall in the number of abortions. This is seriously out of kilter with public opinion. Most people agree that abortion is not a good thing, and the fewer abortions the better,” she said.

Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign challenged the suggestion by some that the availability of abortion pills explains the fall in the number of women travelling for abortion, saying it doesn’t add up “when you factor in that the fall in the number of abortions has been happening for fourteen years straight, a period of time much longer than abortion pills have been readily available online.

“It needs to be said however that politicians and campaigners who recklessly and illegally imported abortion pills into Ireland in recent years as part of a publicity stunt have no credibility when it comes to talking about concern for women’s health in this regard.”

“It is highly hypocritical and opportunistic to be raising concerns about accessing abortion pills online while refusing to condemn leading members of the pro-choice movement who illegally imported these drugs into Ireland, potentially putting the lives of women and babies at serious risk.”

“Today’s figures also highlight why we need to continue to look at the reasons why women are resorting to the tragedy of abortion,” Cora Sherlock said.

Addressing issues like accommodation, financial assistance, childcare provision and other supports are all things that the new Government can do to help the figures fall still further and ensure that more women feel able to give birth to their baby in a society that welcomes them both, she concluded.

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