Four Cork women a week travel to UK for abortions

Four Cork women a week travel to UK for abortions
Cork City. Picture: Denis Scannell

More than four women a week travelled from Cork to the United Kingdom for an abortion last year.

New figures released by the UK Department of Health show that 241 women who travelled for an abortion in 2016 gave a Cork address, 9% of all Irish women.

3,265 women gave Irish addresses at UK abortion clinics last year, almost 70% of all non-residents seeking abortions in the UK.

The figures represent a decrease from the previous year; 3,451 women gave Irish addresses to UK abortion clinics in 2015, with 280 women registering an address in Cork during the same timeframe.

However, recent research shows that increasing numbers of Irish women are making contact with online abortion pill providers, according to the HSE.

Figures from just one provider suggest a 62% increase in Irish women contacting it over a five-year period, from 548 in 2010 to 1438 in 2015.

This week, it emerged an Irish girl at risk of suicide who sought an abortion was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, as her psychiatrist said that terminating her pregnancy “was not the solution.” 

“These figures and this horrific case show how unworkable current legislation around abortion is,” Solidarity councillor Fiona Ryan said.

“We’re continuing to export women abroad, more than 4 women a week in Cork, costing them thousands of euro in expense for something they should be able to access legally in their own country. The overall figure is much higher when we take into account abortion pills. This would point towards the method of abortion changing,” Cllr Ryan said.

According to the figures, 10 girls under the age of 16 travelled for abortion in the UK last year.

Almost half the women who travelled recorded themselves as “married or in a civil partnership”, with 1,597 women.

A new Cork branch of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment was officially launched this week, with a march planned for this Saturday, June 17 to coincide with rallies being held in Galway and Dublin.

The march in Cork will commence at 1.30pm on Grand Parade, assembling in front of the City Library, proceeding through the city before re-assembling at Grand Parade.

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