Irish Abortions Declined Again in 2017


The number of Irish women having abortions in Britain declined again in 2017, according to official figures from the Department of Health. There was a 5 per cent decline in the number of these abortions, with 3,092 abortions performed on Irish women in 2017, down from 3,265 in 2016. By contrast, the number of abortions on women resident in England and Wales increased by 2.3 per cent, to 189,859.


The number of Irish abortions in England and Wales has declined every year since 2001.


The number of abortions in England and Wales performed on women from Northern Ireland, however, increased. This was due to the decision of the British government in June 2017 to make these abortions available free of charge. There were 919 abortions performed on women from Northern Ireland, an increase of over a quarter on 2016, and the highest number since 2011. This breaks a trend which had seen the numbers declining from a peak of 1,855 in 1990.


The quarterly data clearly shows that the increase in the number of NI abortions is due to the government funding. Quarter 3 saw an increase of 46 per cent on the same period in 2016, while for Quarter 4, the increase was 62 per cent.


3,158 babies were aborted in England and Wales “due to the risk that the child would be born seriously handicapped.” One fifth of these, 632, were babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

Family & Life. June 21. Department of Health. June 7.

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