Ireland’s pro-life movement tonight claimed record numbers of Irish women having abortions in Britain were directly linked to a 1995 decision to make available information about overseas termination facilities.
The charge followed Office of National Statistics figures showing that during 2000, 6,388 women with Irish addresses went to Britain for abortions, 2.9% above the previous year’s total.
The Pro-Life Campaign said the returns showed that the Irish government’s stated objective of reducing abortions had failed.
Spokesman John Smyth added: ‘‘The figures are evidence that abortions have increased dramatically as a result of the 1995 act.
‘‘We need to make women more aware of the positive alternatives, economically, socially and from a welfare point of view.’’
In contrast, the Irish Family Planning Association said the most recent rise in the number of women travelling to Britain for abortions had been ‘‘relatively modest, compared with recent years’’.
Chief executive Tony O’Brien said: ‘‘We are too obsessed with hard numbers in this country. Figures tell you less than statistics and the statistical increase is quite low.’’
:: The Government has agreed on proposed legislation to permit around 42,000 adopted people to have access to their original birth certificates at the age of 18 years.
The Adoption Bill, which is expected to become law next year, will also give parents who gave up their children for adoption access to information about the children once they reach the age of 18.
Junior health minister Mary Hanafin said: ‘‘The new legislation will attempt to strike a balance between a person’s right to information and a person’s right to privacy.’’