Friday 23 May 2008

Choice Ireland calls on Government to stop criminalising women who have abortions

Following the inquest into a backstreet abortion procured by a Filipino woman in July 2004, Choice Ireland are tonight calling on the Government to
address the issue of abortion rights for women in Ireland. A woman
can be jailed for life if she has an abortion in Ireland, but, if she
can afford to travel, she can avail of a termination outside the

Commenting spokesperson Niav Keating said "In 2004, the government
ruled out any review of current abortion legislation despite media
coverage of two illegal back-street abortions that had taken place in
Dublin that summer. In April 2008, the Council of Europe called on
Ireland to decriminalise abortion and warned that Ireland's abortion
ban does not result in fewer abortions but instead means women have no
choice but to undergo traumatic backstreet abortions."

Commenting spokesperson Sinead Ahearn said "It's time for the
government to stop ignoring the plight of women who cannot travel
outside this State to procure a termination. It's time for free, safe
and legal abortion services to be introduced in Ireland"

Quotes End.


Back street abortions are not a new phenomenon in Ireland and between
1926 and 1974 there were at least 58 recorded prosecutions under the
1861 Offences against the Persons Act. However, since the 1967
Abortion Act in Britain, back street abortion had ceased to be a major
problem in Ireland as many Irish women travelled to the UK to
terminate a pregnancy. Since 1967, 5 women are known to have died
from back street abortions in Northern Ireland.

A report published in the medical journal, The Lancet, last year
concluded that there is little difference in abortion rate worldwide
regardless of whether the procedure is legal or illegal. The report
referred to is "Induced abortion: estimated rates and trends
worldwide" by Gilda Sedgh, Stanley Henshaw, Susheela Singh, Elizabeth
Ahman and Iqbal H. Shah. It is published in the current issue of 'The
Lancet' (Volume 370, Number 9595). It can be accessed online

Choice Ireland is a diverse group of Pro-Choice activists campaigning
for free, safe and legal abortion services in Ireland.

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