21 local women had UK abortions

At least 21 Leitrim women accessed abortion services in the UK last year according to figures published by the UK Department of Health.

At least 21 Leitrim women accessed abortion services in the UK last year according to figures published by the UK Department of Health.

The Abortion Statistics from England and Wales 2012, show that a total of 3,982 women with Irish addresses accessed abortion services in the UK. This figure is down from 4,149 Irish women in 2011.

21 women who accessed legal abortion in the UK last year gave their address as Leitrim, but a massive 889 did not specify their county of residence, which means that Leitrim’s actual number could be higher.

The largest age group to access the service were 20-24 year olds followed by 25-29 and 30-34. The lowest number of users were age under 16. The majority of Irish abortions in the UK took place between 3-9 gestation weeks, and the biggest numbers were undertaken “because of a risk to the woman’s mental health.”

The reports says that the figures for non-resident abortions in the UK “is the lowest in any year since 1969.”

The figures come just after Dail Eireann passed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill last week. Local Independent TDs Denis Naughten and Luke Ming Flanagan and Fianna Fail’s Brendan Smith voted against the bill. Frank Feighan (FG) John Perry (FG), Tony McLoughlin (FG) and Michael Colreavy (SF) votes yes along party lines. The bill is now being debated in the Seanad.