Northern Ireland: 1,053 women travelled for abortions last year showing clear need for reform

Responding to national abortion statistics (p.21) out today that show 1,053 women travelled from Northern Ireland to England or Wales in 2018 for an abortion - an increase of 192 women from the year before - Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaign manager, said:

“It’s unsurprising that the number of women who travelled from Northern Ireland to England or Wales for an abortion has increased. 

“The ongoing near-total ban on abortion doesn’t stop women needing or seeking abortions, it just forces them to board planes to access the healthcare. Women should be treated with respect and dignity and given the right to make choices about their own body at home.

“It’s clear that change needs to happen. It’s degrading and insulting that the UK Government allows women in Northern Ireland to travel to receive vital healthcare services, but will not give us this same access at home.

“These statistics don’t capture the many women unable to travel for an abortion - including those in abusive relationship and those without confirmed immigration status - nor do they reflect those forced to access abortion pills online and risking prosecution in doing so.

“It’s time the UK Government changed the law and stood by women in Northern Ireland.”

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