• Clodagh Meaney

Report shows pregnant people still leaving Ireland for abortion care in the UK

375 people left Ireland in 2019 to access abortion care in the UK

By Clodagh Meaney

Not all people who need abortion care are able to access it in Ireland, that's according to The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

In a report released today stating latest abortion statistics from England and Wales, it was shown that 375 people from across Ireland headed overseas to access abortion care during 2019.

It comes after abortion services became available in Ireland on January 1st last year.

Chief Executive Niall Behan of the IFPA said in a statement today: “The statistics show what we already knew: not everyone in Ireland who needs abortion care can access it here at home; either because their pregnancy falls outside the law or because care is not accessible locally.”

The UK Department of Health and Social Care reports that of the women and girls who gave Irish addresses when accessing abortion in England or Wales, 17% (65) were at less than 10 weeks gestation.

“At least one woman a day continues to travel abroad for abortion," he continued. "These women and girls are from every county in Ireland. They should have been able to access care at home: we know that at least 65 of the 375 had a legal entitlement under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018."

In 2019, 277 people who received a diagnosis of sever foetal anomaly after 12 weeks were forced to travel abroad as they are currently excluded from accessing abortion care under Irish law.

The figures prove shortcomings in Ireland's abortion laws after the country voted in 2018 to repeal the 8th amendment.

“We should be proud of the way abortion care has been integrated into mainstream healthcare in Ireland. And we should be extremely proud of the committed and conscientious providers—including IFPA staff—who are ensuring that women have access to this care, including during the coronavirus pandemic," Mr. Behan said.

“But the reality is that women who do not meet the legal criteria for abortion must endure the physical, emotional and financial burdens of travelling abroad for healthcare. This is unacceptable.”

Niall Behan concluded his statement calling on the incoming Irish government to ensure a review of abortion laws in 2021 focuses on leaving no one behind.

“The new government must ensure that the 2021 review of the abortion law focuses on enhancing access to abortion care so that no one is left behind.”

© 2020 by EMPWR

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