119 women who travelled to the UK for abortions last year gave Limerick addresses, according to a report just released.
This was the third-highest figure for any Irish county, behind the 1,182 women who gave addresses in Dublin and 246 who signed themselves as being resident in Cork.
According to figures released by the Abortion Support Network (ASN) which is based on UK Department of Health figures, 2,879 women who availed of abortions services in Britain last year gave addresses in the Republic.
It is the last report to classify abortions carried out in the UK before the introduction of the new abortion legislation in Ireland last January.
ASN is a volunteer-driven charity that provides financial assistance, accommodation and confidential, non-judgemental information to women forced to travel from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man pay privately for abortions abroad.
ASN founder, Mary Clarke said, “Making abortion against the law never stops abortion. It makes abortion inconvenient for those with financial and other supports, and catastrophically impossible for those who are marginalised, at risk, or poor.
“Pregnant women who can travel, do. Those who can’t are forced to continue unwanted pregnancies, opt to take safe but illegal early medical abortion pills, or, fearful of criminal prosecution if caught taking pills, do more dangerous things to attempt to self-abort”.
However Maeve O’ Hanlon of the Pro-Life Campaign said that while the number of women travelling for abortions to the UK has dropped by close to 60 per cent over the past fifteen years, this continued decline has now been put in danger as a direct result of the present government’s new law, introducing widespread abortion in Ireland.
“There are no official figures yet for 2019 but based on the estimates released by abortion-supporting groups, sadly it looks like the abortion rate has sharply increased since the new law came into effect in January,” Ms O’Hanlon added.
Outlining the costs of an abortion in England, ASN says that women who travel from Ireland have to pay for their travel and often that of a partner, friend or family member accompanying them. They must also factor in accommodation costs and payment for the procedure as a private patient.
“The cost of the procedure at a clinic in England ranges between £415 to £1410. This can be higher if treatment in a hospital – as opposed to a clinic – is required. It also depends on the stage of pregnancy and where the abortion takes place.
“Some women must also pay the costs of childcare for children back home, lost income due to time off work, travel documents, and other costs”.