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HSE acknowledges ‘slight increase’ in abortion figures

The number increased from 3,679 in 2013 to 3,735 in 2014, according to figures issued by the UK Department of Health. This increase comes after twelve successive years of declines between 2001 and 2013.

Notwithstanding this increase, since the establishment of the Crisis Pregnancy Programme in 2001, the number and rate of women giving Irish addresses at UK abortion clinics has significantly declined from 6,673 in 2001 (7.5 per 1,000) to 3,735 in 2014 (3.8 per 1,000).

The number and rate of abortions to women under 20 has continued to decline, from 324 in 2013 (2.4 per 1,000) to 273 in 2014 (2.0 per 1,000). In 2001, the abortion rate to teenagers was 6.0.

The programme also gathers figures to examine the patterns of women travelling to the Netherlands for an abortion, and these also have shown a significant decline. The number of women travelling from Ireland to services in the Netherlands was 461 in 2006 (the first year of data collection), 451 in 2007, 351 in 2008, 134 in 2009, 31 in 2010, 33 in 2011, 24 in 2012, and 12 in 2013.

Ms Helen Deely, Head of the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, said: “This slight increase in the number of women giving Irish addresses at abortion clinics in UK breaks a steady, downward trend over twelve years since the establishment of the Crisis Pregnancy Programme in 2001.

“It is important to note, however, that the abortion rate has remained stable at 3.8 per 1000 women between 2013 and 2014. We need to continue to ensure that women experiencing crisis pregnancy are aware of the free crisis pregnancy counselling services that are available in over 50 locations nationwide. We also need to ensure that women who travel abroad for an abortion are aware that free post-abortion medical check-ups and post-abortion counselling is available to them on their return to Ireland.”

A list of crisis pregnancy services is available on www.positiveoptions.ie, while information on post-abortion services is available on www.abortionaftercare.ie

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