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Ireland and abortion

The Reality of Irish Abortion: IFPA and BPAS Release Detailed Irish Abortion Statistics

The following extracts are taken from a news release, issued on July 18. For further information, or a detailed breakdown of numbers of Irish women terminating pregnancies at BPAS clinics in England, contact Tony O'Brien, Chief Executive, Irish Family Planning Association (office: 3531 878 0366 mobile: 086 811 5115 e:ifpa@iol.ie) or Ann Furedi, Director of Communications, BPAS (office: 0044 1564 793225 mobile: 0044 7711 829 672).

At a joint news conference in Dublin this morning the IFPA, Ireland's national family planning association, and BPAS, Britain's largest specialist provider of abortion services, released the most detailed analysis of Irish abortion statistics ever produced.

BPAS is a non profit registered charity which provides care to 50 000 women annually and which works in partnership with the national health service in Britain. BPAS has services throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Between January 1997 and December 1999 BPAS provided just under 42% of all the Irish abortions included in official UK statistics, totally 7,629. So far this year (January-June) BPAS has provided 1,012 abortions to women giving an address in the Republic of Ireland. Over the last three and half years BPAS has also provided 1,389 abortion services to women giving and address in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the opening of the press conference, the IFPA's Chief Executive Tony O'Brien said:

'As the All Party Hearings on abortion have now been concluded and the committee has entered its deliberative phase we believe that it is useful to shed more light on Irish abortion statistics.' 'One of the downside consequences of the current situation is that we know too little about the circumstances of the women behind these statistics. We are extremely grateful to BPAS for devoting its resources to helping us examine this aspect more closely.'
'It is important that I should stress that the official UK abortion statistics for Irish women may well be understated, due to non disclosure of correct addresses. This may also apply to BPAS statistics. Conclusions as to the overall rate of Irish abortion or trends in any such rate should not be regarded as reliable'.

Ann Furedi, Director of Communications for BPAS said:

'There is no denying that Irish women have abortions. Last year, BPAS provided abortion care for almost 2,500 women from the Republic or Ireland. This year the numbers are likely to be the same. Laws and constitutional bans against abortion do not prevent it. They simply cause women the distress of having to travel, of having to raise difficult sums of money, and sometimes having to conceal their actions.' 'The women we see from Ireland are like the women we see from England, except that they are more desperate. They are made desperate by the lack of legal abortion here.' 'The women who attend BPAS clinics receive excellent care from staff who support and respect them. But Irish women need and deserve care in their home country'.

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