Thursday 28 June 2007

Pro-choice groups call for new legislation on abortion

The Irish Times
Thursday 28th June 2007
Carl O'Brien

Pro-choice groups have called on the Government to legislate for abortion in Ireland in response to the large number of women who travel abroad to terminate their pregnancies.

Last year 5,042 women gave Irish addresses at abortion clinics in Britain, according to the UK's department of health.

In order to highlight those numbers, Choice Ireland yesterday displayed 20 suitcases and rucksacks outside Leinster House to signify the 20 women who leave Ireland each day for an abortion.

Sinead Ahearn, a spokeswoman for Choice Ireland, said the real numbers of women travelling abroad were much greater as official figures do not include those travelling to other countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium and the US to terminate their pregnancies.

She pointed to a recent TNS/ mrbi poll, commissioned by the Irish Family Planning Agency, which indicated significant support for abortion in Ireland in certain circumstances. It found 43 per cent of people supported abortion if it was in a woman's "best interests", but the majority (51 per cent) remained opposed to it in this country.

Choice Ireland will hold a rally on Saturday at the Central Bank Plaza at 2pm as part of its ongoing campaign for abortion rights.

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