Number of Women Travelling From Ireland to UK for Abortions Drops for 14th Straight Year

International   |   Cora Sherlock   |   May 17, 2016   |   10:29AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

The number of women travelling to Britain for abortions has decreased for the fourteenth consecutive year according to official statistics released by the British Department of Health* today.

In 2015, 3,451 women travelled from Ireland to England and Wales to have an abortion, down from 3,735 in 2014. This represents a continual decline in the numbers since 2001 when the number of Irish abortions was at 6,673.

Pro-life supporters in Ireland have welcomed the decline, noting that is a positive development particularly when you take into account the serious adverse psychological effects of abortion for many women.  All too often, these are simply swept under the carpet in public debate and this not only deprives post-abortive women of an opportunity to express their own sadness and be heard; it also means that women who may be considering an abortion do not get the chance to be fully informed of the risk that they are undergoing.

It is quite likely that the fact that the figures have fallen so much over recent years is due to the work done by Abortion Recovery groups and other courageous women who refuse to be put off by pro-choice groups and who speak out about their experiences of regret and trauma in the aftermath of abortion.  Of course, pro-choice campaigners will not entertain this suggestion for a second but then they never acknowledge the heartbreaking stories of abortion regret, something which leaves many women feeling alone and abandoned when they discover that abortion is not the “solution” is was made out to be.

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Whenever a decline in the number of women travelling is reported, pro-choice campaigners always suggest that this is down to the availability of abortion pills.  But this doesn’t explain why the numbers of been falling for fourteen years straight which is far longer than the period of time that abortion pills have been readily available online.

At the same time, the number of politicians and campaigners in Ireland who recklessly and illegally imported abortion pills into Ireland in recent years as part of a publicity stunt have no credibility when it comes to talking about concern for women’s health in this regard. It is highly hypocritical and opportunistic to be raising concerns about accessing abortion pills online while refusing to condemn leading members of the pro-choice movement who illegally imported these drugs into Ireland, potentially putting the lives of women and babies at serious risk.

The release of the annual figures is a timely opportunity for everyone interested in this issue to re-focus our efforts on addressing the reasons why women in Ireland feel the need to resort to the tragedy of abortion.  Addressing issues like accommodation, financial assistance, childcare provision and other supports are all things that the newly formed Government can do to help the figures fall still further and ensure that more and more women feel able to give birth to their baby in a society that welcomes them both.”

*Summary Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2015.  Full report published by British Department of Health available here.