Irish women obtaining abortions in UK

  • Not one Irish woman has had an abortion in the UK in order to save her life since 1992, new research from the Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare  (CEMH) has shown.

    A response to a freedom of information request by the Committee to the British Department of Health shows that, between 1992 and 2010, no abortions were carried out on Irish women under section F of the UK Abortion Act, which requires records to be kept of abortions that were carried out to “save the life of the mother”.

    Further, the same data shows that no abortions were carried out on Irish women between 1992 and 2010 under Section G of the same Act, which requires records to be kept of abortions conducted to “prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman”.

    Commenting on the data for CEMH, Dr Eoghan de Faoite said:

    “This data makes clear what Irish women have known all along – they do not have to leave Ireland to seek abortions if their life is in danger. In fact, not one abortion has been carried out to save an Irish woman’s life since the X case, despite the frequent and misleading claims of those who  support the provision of  induced abortion.

    “As the Dublin Declaration, issued following the International Symposium on Maternal Health, confirmed: ‘the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women’. ”

    “Further, the data makes clear that not one single abortion has been carried out on an Irish woman in the UK to protect her from grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health”.

    “The results of this investigation are hugely significant for the government at this current time. Policy makers must be aware of the facts revealed by the official British records which show that abortions are not being carried out on Irish women in order to save their lives.

    “Irish women will not be surprised by these figures. Pregnancy is not a disease and abortion is not a cure. The oft-repeated claim that Irish women are travelling for so-called ‘life-saving’ abortions are shown to be false and without foundation. The truth is that British statistics show not a single life saved by an abortion in 20 years,” he added.

    What we do know from the British experience is that in 2010, 66 children were born as a result of botched abortions in the United Kingdom and left to die. This is not a record to emulate in regard to human rights, or maternal health.

    These figures make absolutely clear that Irish women are not traveling to Britain from Ireland to procure abortions in order to save their lives. Excellence in Maternal Healthcare should strive to obtain the best possible outcome for both mother and baby.

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