Women travelling for abortions often come alone, unsupported, ashamed, Citizens' Assembly hears

The Citizens' Assembly has heard that 3,451 women from the Republic of Ireland travelled to England or Wales for an abortion in 2015.

A consultant in foetal medicine from Birmingham's Women and Children Hospital says that 135 of these women travelled to have a termination due to a foetal anomaly.

The assembly is meeting to consider the issue of abortion and the eighth amendment and will make recommendations to the Oireachtas on whether or not a referendum on abortion should be held.

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Dr Patricia Lohr from the Medical Director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service presented to the assembly this afternoon and says Irish women who travel to their clinics are afraid of the stigma associated with having an abortion.

“Women who travel from Ireland often come alone, unsupported, it’s a secret, they feel ashamed, and that means that they’re often in a heightened emotional state,” she said.

“So doctors and nurses and other clinic staff have an incredible amount of compassion for women who travel.”

Separately from the Assembly, spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign, Cora Sherlock, said that the forum has so far not discussed the benefits of the Eighth Amendment.

“The real story that is being lost in the Citizens' Assembly is the personal experiences of families who can show and can explain to the Assembly members why the Eighth Amendment is the lifesaving beacon that it is.

“That they can say: ‘My child is alive, and I credit the Eighth Amendment with that’, ‘My child has Down Syndrome and he or she is valued in an Ireland because of the Eighth Amendment’.”


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