Groups welcome falling abortion figures
Kitty Holland The Irish Times
Pro-life and pro-choice groups as well as statutory agencies have welcomed the continued decrease in the number of women giving Irish addresses when seeking abortions in Britain.
Figures issued by the British department of health yesterday show the number of women who gave Irish addresses at British abortion clinics fell last year - from 5,585 in 2005 to 5,042 in 2006.
This is the sixth consecutive annual decline since 2001 when the figure was 6,673. It fell to 6,522 in 2002, to 6,320 in 2003 and 6,217 in 2004. Significantly, there has also been a fall in the abortion rate per 1,000 Irish women in the 15 to 44 age group, from 7.5 in 2001 to 5.2 last year.
Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA) chairwoman Katharine Bulbulia described the figures as "heartening" while the pro-choice Safe and Legal campaign welcomed them but said they did "not reflect the full picture".
The Pro-Life Campaign welcomed the fall in numbers and indicated that a trend towards abortion "is not inevitable".
However, its spokesman said the figures remained "extremely high" and left "no room for complacency".
The Safe and Legal campaign said the decline in Irish addresses at British clinics was welcome but attributed this in part to Irish women travelling in greater numbers to the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries.
"This is due to the prohibitive sterling-euro differential. Abortions in the UK can cost up to 1,300, with additional costs for travel and accommodation."
Ms Bulbulia said there were no statistics to back up this claim, but added that the CPA was conducting a "scoping study" to examine the issue.
2007 The Irish Times
20 June 2007
Abortion: Fall in Irish addresses
By Evelyn Ring The Irish Examiner
The number of women giving Irish addresses at British abortion clinics has dropped for the sixth year in a row. But the Crisis Pregnancy Agency has been trying to determine whether Irish women are travelling to other countries for terminations. Initial results suggest that a number of women are travelling to the Netherlands. Other jurisdictions have noticed Irish women travelling to clinics since January 2006.
Latest statistics show that women giving Irish addresses at British abortion clinics decreased from 6,673 in 2001 to 5,042 in 2006. Agency chairwoman Katharine Bulbulia said it was heartening that the number of women travelling to Britain was decreasing. And, she said, it was reasonable to say there was a very gradual downward trend in the number of Irish women seeking abortions. There had been a decrease in the number of women travelling to Britain for terminations and other jurisdiction had only noticed the trend of Irish women travelling to their clinics since last year, she pointed out. The Pro Life Campaign said the welcome reduction in the abortion rate indicated that the tide is moving in the right direction and that a growing trend towards abortion was not inevitable. The Safe and Legal (in Ireland) Abortion Campaign said available statistics did not reflect the true picture. Irish women are travelling in greater numbers to the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries due to the prohibitive Sterling-Euro differential, the group claimed. Research indicates that work, career, perceived stigma, childcare, finance and feelings or being unable to cope or being too young to have a child are key factors in a woman s decision to have an abortion.
OTHER DESTINATIONS 'LIKELY CAUSE' AS FEWER WOMEN GO TO UK FOR ABORTIONS
Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent The Irish Independent June 20th 2007
The numbers of Irish women having abortions in the UK fell for the sixth year in a row in 2006.
However, this may be partly due to women travelling to other abortion clinics in mainland Europe including the Netherlands, says the Crisis Pregnancy Agency. Figures released yesterday show 5,042 women gave Irish addresses in UK clinics last year, compared to 5585 in 2005.
The numbers having terminations there compared to 6,673 in 2001. But Irish women still account for the majority of the 7,436 non-residents having abortions in the UK. The rate of abortion- which compares the number of terminations per 1000 women aged 15-44 years- is also down and now stands at 5.2 compared to 7.5 in 2001.
The Crisis Pregnancy Agency said it is now conducting a scoping study to look at how Irish women are availing of abortions in other European countries. 'It is heartening that the numbers of women travelling to the UK for abortion procedures is decreasing' said CPA chairperson Katherine Bulbulia. The initial findings from its own survey indicates that a number of women are travelling from here to the Netherlands but clinics in other countries are also reporting the use of their services by Irish women since January 2006. However Ms Bulbulia concluded a definite slide in abortions is
Commenting on the figures, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen said: 'While any reduction in the abortion rate is good news, nonetheless, the figures remain extremely high and leave no room for complacency. The Crisis Pregnancy Agency, in particular, has a responsibility to ensure that sufficient resources are put in place to provide real and positive alternatives to abortion'.
The Safe and Legal Abortion Rights Campaign said the Government 'needs to face up to the reality of abortion', and that it understood the need for women to travel abroad to obtain abortions 'given the current, almost blanket, prohibition on abortion in Ireland'.