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Annual abortions climb to over 10,000 for first time since repeal

Over 10,000 abortions took place in Ireland in 2023, new figures from the Department of Health released on Friday evening show. It is the highest ever number of annual abortions performed in the State.

The figure is a 250 per cent increase on the number of abortions performed prior to the vote to Repeal the eighth amendment in 2018 (when 2,879 abortions were recorded for women travelling from Ireland to Britain).

It is an annual increase of 1,877 abortions performed in 2022, representing a 19 per cent increase in the space of one year. The climb in the abortion rate means that over 36,000 abortions have been performed since Ireland voted to repeal the eighth, ushering in a HSE-led abortion regime in 2019. 

There were 54,678 births registered in Ireland last year, meaning that 1 in 6 pregnancies now end in abortion.

The fifth Annual Report on the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018, shows that on average, 772 abortions took place per month across Ireland last year.

9,876 abortions were recorded as taking place in early pregnancy, while 129 were carried out under the grounds that the baby had a life-limiting condition. Risk to life or health was cited as grounds for 21 abortions, whilst 7 abortions were carried out citing ‘risk to life or health in an emergency.’

The highest number of abortions happened in Dublin (3,645), followed by Cork (873). 446 abortions were recorded in Galway, 429 in Kildare, and 423 in Limerick. 

The lowest number of abortions were recorded in Longford (76) Monaghan (74) and in Leitrim (47).

There were 535 abortions in the State where no location was given, while an additional 9 abortions are reported to have happened in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “In 2023, 21 procedures were carried out due to a risk to life or health under the grounds set out in Section 9 of the Act; seven due to a risk to life or health in an emergency situation under Section 10; 129 due to a fatal fetal anomaly under Section 11; and 9,876 in early pregnancy under the grounds set out in Section 12 of the Act.

“Section 20 of the 2018 Act requires the date on which the termination of pregnancy was carried out to be notified to the Minister of Health. The data for 2023 indicate that the months with the highest number of terminations carried out were May (902 notifications), January (878) and March (874). The month with fewest notifications was February (683).”

Speaking to Gript in February, Laois Offaly TD Carol Nolan said she feared that Ireland was “within breathing distance of the horrendous rubicon” of 10,000 abortions in 2023, as indicated by preliminary figures provided by the Deputy.

Commenting on the increase, Deputy Carol Nolan said at the time that Ireland is now facing an “epidemic,” adding that there is an “under-promotion” of alternatives.

“This is now an epidemic of loss,” she said. 

“Thousands of women are being betrayed by the over-promotion of abortion as the only possible response to pregnancy in certain circumstances and the cruel under promotion of life affirming alternatives. I will continue to shine a light on this issue so that women and families are fully supported with the kind of wrap around service provision that will meaningfully assist them in choosing a different path beyond that of abortion.”

Pro-life organisation The Life Institute, meanwhile, has issued a sustained call for the government to treat Ireland’s increasing abortion rate as a matter of emergency, recently saying that the preliminary figures were evidence that the number of abortions had spiralled.

“We’re calling on the government to treat this matter as an emergency and set up a special task force to look at the shockingly high number of abortions and what can be done to tackle that and offer real options to women,” they said.

Figures seen by this publication earlier this year confirmed that 9,218 payments were made for ‘combined termination procedure and aftercare’ to GP in the eleven months to end November 2023. 

New figures also show that the annual cost of abortion through Irish GPs and hospitals has reached €7.4 million a year, which includes €5.6 million paid to GPs, whilst €1.7 million has been spent in hospitals.

The numbers were provided to Independent Ireland TD Michael Collins, who had submitted a parliamentary question seeking information.

This article was first published on Gript and is printed here with permission


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