Fewer women travelled to UK for abortions last year

Fewer women travelled to UK for abortions last year

Fewer women gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in Britain last year, but there was a 15% increase in the number buying abortion pills online.

The number of women who gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in England and Wales last year fell from 3,019 in 2017 to 2,879 last year — a 4.6% decrease.

However, over the same year, 1,405 women within the State purchased the abortion pill online — an increase of 188 since 2017.

Since January, abortion services have been legally available in the Republic of Ireland, under medical supervision, for pregnancies up to 12 weeks gestation.

Despite the availability of abortion care, 107 women from Ireland contacted an online abortion pill provider during the first three months of this year.

The provider directed all of the women who contacted their service to the HSE’s My Options phone line to help them access a medically-supervised abortion in Ireland.

However, it reported that 43 women received “additional support” from the online service, compared to 184 over the same period last year.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority made nine seizures of 104 abortion pills over the first three months of this year.

Acting assistant national director for HSE Health and Wellbeing, Helen Deely, said some women who contacted an online provider earlier this year might not have been aware that new abortion services were available free of charge in Ireland.

The HSE’s My Options service was established as the first point of contact for women seeking information and support about an unplanned pregnancy.

Figures on abortions for women who are residents in the Republic of Ireland are published annually by the Department of Health in Britain.

Since the My Options service started on January 1, the helpline has received over 7,500 calls.

www.myoptions.ie

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