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Irish Government makes UK main destination for women seeking abortion

“The Irish Government doesn’t mind women having abortions, just as long as they are not in Ireland. It’s time the hypocrisy ended.” – Grainne Teggart.

Today in Dublin, Amnesty International activists from around the world staged a protest against Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws outside the Department of the Taoiseach. Delegates brought 80 suitcases to signify the number of Irish women and girls who travel abroad each week to access a safe and legal abortion.

Their reasons for seeking an abortion vary; some are survivors of rape, some are carrying a foetus with a severe or fatal impairment, some have serious health conditions, some make the decision for economic or other reasons. But all of them are left with no option other than to travel to another jurisdiction.

Grainne Teggart, Campaign Manager said:

“Every year up to 4000 Irish women and girls travel to the UK and other European destinations for an abortion. Irish law treats abortion as a crime, with few exceptions, yet women can travel abroad to access healthcare criminalized at home. The Irish Government doesn’t mind women having abortions, just as long as they are not in Ireland. It’s time the hypocrisy ended.

“Ireland must repeal the 8th amendment; women deserve nothing less than safe and legal abortions, particularly in cases of fatal foetal impairment, rape and incest”.

Amnesty International’s June report She is Not a Criminal, documented the distress of those who had to travel for abortion and others for whom travel was simply not an option who felt they had little choice but to resort to methods of self-induced abortions.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said:

“Ireland can no longer ignore the suffering of its women and girls. A Red C poll commissioned by Amnesty International and published in July shows that people in Ireland appreciate the hardship of travel.  Only one in five thought travelling abroad for an abortion is not especially traumatic for a woman.

“An average of 80 women have abortions every week outside this jurisdiction. Countless others are having illegal medication abortions in Ireland, without adequate medical supervision.  There is no excuse for the outsourcing of Ireland’s human rights obligations and it cannot continue. “

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