Number of Irish Women Going to UK for Abortions Drops Again

International   Steven Ertelt   May 29, 2012   |   2:00PM    Dublin, Ireland

Although the new abortion numbers from the British government are disappointing, the Pro-Life Campaign in Ireland says there is a silver lining to them in that the number of Irish women going to the United Kingdom for abortions has dropped yet again.

The Pro Life Campaign is welcoming the latest Irish abortion figures released today by the British Department of Health, which show that the number of Irish women traveling to Britain for abortions has decreased for the tenth consecutive year.

In 2011, 4,149 Irish women traveled to Britain for abortions, down from 4,402 in 2010 and 4,422 in 2009. The 2011 figures show a marked decrease over previous years and 2011 is the tenth consecutive year that Irish abortions have declined, representing a 38% decline since the high of 6,673 Irish abortions in 2001.

The release of these figures follows the recent report from the HSE/Crisis Pregnancy Programme showing an increase in the number of women expressing abortion regret.  In that study, 44 percent of women expressed varying degrees of regret about their abortions up from 33 per cent in a similar HSE study in 2003.

In a statement welcoming the continuing reduction in abortions on Irish women, Cora Sherlock of the Pro Life Campaign told LifeNews, “While it is too early to draw firm conclusions, the fact that the abortion figures are decreasing while the number of women expressing regret after abortion is increasing, shows the need for a much closer examination of women’s experiences of abortion, including abortion regret.”

She said: “There has been a refusal on the part of those campaigning for abortion in Ireland to take on board the research indicating the negative consequences of abortion for women. This does a tremendous disservice to women. The claims by some groups that the reduced figures can be explained by the fact that women are traveling to other countries is not backed by the evidence.”

In April, the Irish Dáil defeated a bill pro-life groups strongly opposed that would legalize some abortions and potentially imprison pro-life advocates who provide women with abortion alternatives counseling.

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Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and other abortion supporters in the Dáil put forward the Medical Termination Bill but pro-life barrister Johanna Higgins helped pro-life organizations like the Life Institute, Youth Defence and the Pro-Life Campaign alert their members to its pro-abortion components.

“Daly seeks to repeal the criminal law prohibiting abortion in relation to those abortions which fall within her Bill,” Higgins explained. “Given the wide-reaching provisions in her Bill, this would make the criminal law against abortion in the Republic a dead letter. This is a bold move, as even the Abortion Act in Britain only presents a defense to the criminal law, where as Daly seeks to obliterate the criminal legislation.”

“Daly’s Bill seeks to force conscientious objectors to carry out abortions,” Higgins added. “Section 5 of the Bill (Obligation to provide medical treatment) is dressed up as a get-out clause for medical practitioners who don’t want to take part in the vivisection of unborn infants. It reads very like the conscious objection clause which was cunningly inserted into the Termination on Pregnancy Guidelines in the North of Ireland. This clause was attacked by a High Court Judge in Belfast and was one of the reasons SPUC won a case against the Department of Health overturning the Guidelines.”