Irish Abortions Down for 15th Year


For the 15th year in a row, the number of Irish women traveling to Britain for abortions has declined, according to new official figures. The number is the lowest since the late 1970s. The annual abortion statistics for England and Wales for 2016 show that 3,265 women resident in the Republic of Ireland had abortions last year. This is down from 3,451 in 2015. The number of abortions on women from Northern Ireland (724) was also down (from 833).


The number of Irish babies aborted on grounds that they were at risk or serious disability increased slightly, from 135 to 143. By far the most common condition used to justify abortions in this category was Down Syndrome. The number of abortions for Down Syndrome increased from 40 to 43.


There were 185,596 abortions performed on women resident in England and Wales. If Ireland had an abortion rate like England’s, the number of Irish abortions would have been 16,676 instead of 3,265.


The 3,265 abortions in 2016 is a rate of 3.25 abortions per 1,000 female residents aged 15-44. The rate for English and Welsh residents aged 15-44 is 16.6 per 1,000 women, over five times the Irish rate.  The Irish abortion rate equates to 5.1% of births, whereas in England and Wales abortions represent 26.6% of live births.

Department of Health (E&W). June 13. Family & Life. June 13.

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