Ireland Women Still Head to Netherlands in Large Numbers for Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 7, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ireland Women Still Head to Netherlands in Large Numbers for Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 7
, 2008

Dublin, Ireland ( — A new report indicates women from Ireland still head to the Netherlands in large numbers for abortions. However, as was the case last month concerning the number of women traveling to England, fewer Irish women are seeking abortions abroad because of illegal abortions in their native country.

A report last month showed 4,686 Irish women traveled to Britain for abortions in 2007 — down from 5,042 for the previous year and the sixth year for such a decline.

Now a report from the Crisis Pregnancy Agency finds 445 women sought abortions in Holland in 2007, which is down from 461 who did so in 2006.

Still, the number is much higher than the 42 women who received abortions at Dutch facilities in 2005.

The agency said the Netherlands and England are the only two nations where Irish women are traveling in significant numbers for abortions.

The group also found that the rate of women getting abortions in England is on the decline. The abortion rate (number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) has fallen from 7.5 in 2001 to 4.7 in 2007.

Caroline Spillane, the director of the group says that better counseling has helped reduce the numbers of women going abroad as more women opt to keep their baby.

“Since the Agency’s establishment in 2001, we have expanded the provision of free crisis pregnancy counseling nationally by nearly 50%," she explained.

The Agency has seen a marked increase in the number of women who attend crisis pregnancy counseling throughout the country. When the take-up of counseling is combined with the reduction in the number of women giving Irish addresses in UK abortion clinics, we can suggest that the increased awareness of crisis pregnancy and the services provided has had an impact," Spillane added.

In 2006, the Agency started to gather data both retrospectively for 2005 and for the years 2006 and 2007.

Abortion businesses in Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium were contacted, as anecdotal evidence indicated that they were the most frequently cited destinations women were traveling to, other than the UK, for abortion procedures.

Numbers going to Spain and Belgium were extremely low, less than a total of 10 women are reported to have traveled to these countries for abortion procedures between 2005-2007.

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