At least one woman a day still travelling abroad for abortion care

At least one woman a day still travelling abroad for abortion care

The number of women travelling to the UK for an abortion from the Republic last year decreased by 87% compared to 2018.

The latest UK abortion statistics show that 1,389 women gave addresses from the island of Ireland last year.

375 of these were from the Republic which is a decline from 2,879 women in 2018.

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) says this shows there needs to be a review of abortion law which focuses on enhancing access.

“The statistics show what we already knew: not everyone in Ireland who needs abortion care can access it here at home; either because their pregnancy falls outside the law or because care is not accessible locally,” said IFPA Chief Executive, Niall Behan.

Mr Behan said that at least one woman a day continues to travel abroad for abortion care.

According to the UK Department of Health and Social Care, of the women and girls who gave Irish addresses when accessing abortion in England or Wales, 17% (65) were at less than 10 weeks gestation.

"These women and girls are from every county in Ireland," said Mr Behan.

"They should have been able to access care at home: we know that at least 65 of the 375 had a legal entitlement under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

“Women who need access to abortion after 12 weeks are still travelling in significant numbers (277 in 2019).

"They include women and couples who have received a diagnosis of severe foetal anomaly and who are excluded from care under Irish law.”

Mr Behan said that Ireland should be proud of the way abortion care has been integrated into mainstream healthcare.

“But the reality is that women who do not meet the legal criteria for abortion must endure the physical, emotional and financial burdens of travelling abroad for healthcare. This is unacceptable.”

“The new government must ensure that the 2021 review of the abortion law focuses on enhancing access to abortion care so that no one is left behind.”

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