23.6.23 – New data showing fewer than 2% of Irish abortions are happening in England demonstrates we don’t need to extend window for abortions, says Pro Life Campaign

23.6.23 – New data showing fewer than 2% of Irish abortions are happening in England demonstrates we don’t need to extend window for abortions, says Pro Life Campaign

“There is no reason to believe that extending our abortion laws up to birth, as some campaigners have demanded, would act as anything other than a catalyst leading to an explosion in the annual abortion rate.” – Eilís Mulroy

Abortion figures released from the British Department of Health and Social Care show that from January to June 2022, 85 women with Irish addresses had abortions in England and Wales. The release of the full 2022 figures has been delayed until January 2024, so we must estimate that the same trend for the first half of 2022 continued similarly in the second half. Meanwhile, the reimbursement payments made in 2022 to Irish doctors for abortions performed here total 8,876. In total, this means of 9,046 Irish abortions in 2022, fewer than 2% were carried out in England.

Responding to this, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:

“Apart from the tragic reality that the abortion rate has soared in Ireland beyond any reasonable expectations, the figures from England show that the number of Irish women travelling for an abortion has greatly tapered off. This seriously undermines the argument in some quarters that Ireland must make its abortion legislation even more extreme so women don’t travel to England for abortions. But the reality is that only a small fraction (under 2%) of the total number of Irish abortions are being performed in England. The majority are happening at home.

“We were told prior to the 2018 referendum that legalising abortion in Ireland would mean that Irish women were no longer ‘forced’ to travel to England for abortions. However, the number of Irish abortions in England in 2018, the year of the referendum, was 2,879. Considering that doctors were paid last year for 8,876 abortions, that means we’ve seen an increase of 127% since the introduction of the new abortion regime. There is no reason to believe that extending our abortion laws up to birth, as some campaigners have demanded, would act as anything other than a catalyst leading to an explosion in the annual abortion rate.

“The government’s review process has leaned heavily on asking why many Irish women still travel to England for an abortion. We know that many Irish babies are being aborted in England due to receiving a diagnosis of Downs syndrome. If pro-abortion campaigners were more forthright, they would admit they want to extend Ireland’s abortion law to cover disability grounds. Most Irish people instinctively know this it is discriminatory and wrong to end an unborn childs’ life because he or she has been diagnosed with a disability.

“The government must begin to get serious about addressing the soaring abortion rate, which means listening to pro-life perspectives which understand what women in unplanned pregnancy need. It means the state must proactively offer supports to women in unplanned pregnancies, and not simply push them down a one-way road towards abortion.”

ENDS

Link to the abortion statistics (UK). Irish statistics found in
‘Abortion statistics January to June 2022: data tables‘, Tab T12b.
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-january-to-june-2022