Politics, Travel News|

Fewer Irish Women Visit UK for Abortions

Woman Talking with DoctorAccording to the Pro-Life Campaign in Ireland, there are fewer Irish women travelling to the UK for abortions. The group is welcoming the latest figures from the UK Department of Health, which show that this number has decreased for the tenth year in a row. Last year, 4,149 Irish women travelled to the UK for abortions, but this is down from the 4,402 who did so the year before and the 4,422 recorded in 2009.

Almost 150 Irish minors travelled to these areas for legal abortions – 37 of the girls were under the age of 16 (10% fewer than in 2010) and 111 were between the ages of 16 and 17 (3.5% fewer than the previous year). Plus, 295 women aged 18 and 19 travelled to the UK for abortions, which is a 3% decline from 2010. 257 of the 4,149 women were over the age of 40; 1,289 were in their 30s; and over half were in their 20s. Last year’s figures show that nearly 70% of the Irish women travelled to England or Wales between three and nine weeks of pregnancy, while 16% were between ten and 12 weeks; 12% were between 13 and 19 weeks; and 3% were over 20 weeks.

There was a marked decrease compared to previous years, down 38% since a 2001 high of 6,673 Irish abortions. Additionally, figures from the HSE/Crisis Pregnancy Programme show an increase in the number of women who express their regret about getting an abortion. In the study, 44% of women regretted their decision on varying degrees, which is up from 3% in a similar study conducted by the group in 2003.

Pro Life Campaign deputy chairperson Cora Sherlock has welcomed the continuing reduction in abortions by Irish women. While it’s too soon to draw firm judgments, she said, the abortion figures falling and the increased number of women expressing regret afterward shows the need for a closer review of what women experience with abortions – including the regret.

Sherlock added that there’s been a refusal by those campaigning for abortions in Ireland for the research, which suggests the negative consequences associated with abortion for women. The practice is damaging to women. She added that the claims by some groups that these figures can be explained by women travelling to other nations isn’t backed by the evidence.

Meanwhile, the UK Department of Health’s report revealed less thrilling figures, showing an increase in the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales for the second year in a row. There were 189,931 abortions done for women living in the two areas last year – up 0.2% from 2010 and up 7.7% from 2001.

In spite of this slight rise, the number of abortions remained unchanged last year compared to the previous year – at 17.5 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years old. The rate was highest for women aged 20 at 33 per 1,000, but was unchanged compared to figures from both 2010 and 2001. There was also a decline in teenage pregnancy rates, with 3.4 per 1,000 minors (under 16) and 15 per 1,000 women aged under 18 getting abortions. These were both lower from 2010 – when 3.9 per 1,000 of under 16s and 16.5 per 1,000 of under 18s had abortions.




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