The report launched today is the result of an investigation into the reality of abortion in Ireland, which was carried out in 2009. The report examines the real effects of Ireland’s restrictive and often unclear abortion laws on women in crisis pregnancy and highlights the increased burdens placed on women forced to leave the state to access medical care.

Commenting, Spokesperson Sinead Ahern said “In the 27 years since the 8th amendment we have criminalised and stigmatised women in crisis. We have not stopped abortion happening; we have simply driven it abroad or underground. It is time that we discuss the issue of abortion in Ireland in terms of the reality and not geography. Although the women visit foreign clinics we still have a duty of care to them”.

Ahern continues, “the current situation allows women who can afford to travel to access abortion services while women who cannot are left behind. The current situation disproportionately affects the most vulnerable women, such as young women, migrants and those on low incomes”.

Choice Ireland also welcomes the recommendations calling for the regulation of crisis pregnancy counselling agencies. Commenting, spokesperson Maura Lane said “The lack of regulation in this area has allowed so-called rogue agencies lie to, manipulate and intimidate women in crisis in order to dissuade them from terminating unwanted pregnancies”. Ms Lane added that “despite repeated calls by Choice Ireland, Mary Harney has refused to introduce such legislation.”

Choice Ireland is a pro choice activist group which has been operating in Ireland since 2007.

According to the UK Department of Health 4,600 women giving Irish addresses terminated pregnancies in the UK in 2008 331 women from the Republic of Ireland travelled to the Netherlands for safe and legal abortion services in 2008 and 451 women in 2007

The WHO estimate that 13% of maternal mortalities rates are due to unsafe abortion.

Human Rights Watch report ‘A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland’ can be downloaded from here