Number of Women Traveling From Ireland to UK for Abortions Drops for 15th Consecutive Year

International   Cora Sherlock   Jun 13, 2017   |   10:02AM    Dublin, Ireland

The Pro Life Campaign has welcomed a Report showing that the number of women travelling from Ireland to England and Wales for abortions has decreased for the fifteenth consecutive year.

The report, which issued from the British Department of Health today, shows that  3,265 women travelled from Ireland to England to have an abortion in 2016.  This figure represented a decrease on the 2015 figure of 3,451 which itself was a further decrease from the figure of 3,735 in 2014. This represents a continual decline in the numbers since 2001 when the number of Irish abortions was at 6,673.

Given that this is the fifteenth consecutive year that the number of Irish women seeking abortions in England has declined, it is a very welcome development.  But that hasn’t stopped abortion advocates in Ireland from using these figures to highlight the fact that abortion is not available in Ireland.  Instead of welcoming the decline in the loss of human life, they are once again using it as an opportunity to push for access to wide-ranging abortion in Ireland.  The line they are adopting makes no sense.  Surely, everyone should be welcoming the fall in the numbers and working to reduce them still further.

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Repeal of the 8th Amendment would remove Ireland’s last constitutional protection for unborn children and in doing so, it would create wider access to abortion.  There is no doubt but that this would see the numbers of abortions rise again.

There is no doubt the availability of the abortion pill online is a factor in the fall in the numbers of women travelling but it is being grossly exaggerated as a reason by pro-choice campaigners. The facts are the fall in the number of abortions has been happening for fifteen years now, a period of time much longer than abortion pills have been readily available online.

No one can state with certainly the reasons for the decline. But the reasons are certainly more complex than pro-choice campaigners suggest. Something I have noticed on social media is the number of women expressing abortion regret in online discussion. It doesn’t receive much attention in the mainstream media and abortion advocates zealously dismiss it. Nonetheless, it is an issue that deserves more attention if we are to sincerely try to understand the different ways this issue impacts on the lives of people.