Abortions Fall in Scotland, Fewer Irish Women Travel to England For Them

by Steven Ertelt

LifeNews.com Editor

May 25, 2010

London, England (LifeNews.com) — New government statistics provide good news for pro-life advocates in the UK and Ireland. They show abortions have fallen in Scotland after reaching an all-time high in 2008 and they reveal fewer women from Ireland are heading to England and Wales for abortions.

In 2008 the number of abortions in Scotland reached a high of 13,817, but that figure fell in 2009, according to new figures from the British government.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison told the BBC she is encouraged that abortion numbers fell across all age groups for the first time in six years.

Overall, across England and Wales, there were 189,100 abortions in 2009, down from 195,296 in 2008.

Among under-15s, there were 1,047 abortions (down from 1,097 in 2008), and 136 were done on girls under 14 and 911 done on 14-year-olds. Among all under-16s, there were 3,823 abortions (down from 4,113 in 2008) and 17,916 among under-18s (down from 19,387 in 2008).

By age group, 1,341 under-18s had had one previous abortion, as had 17,746 women aged 18 to 24. Among those aged 25 to 29, 12,392 had had one previous abortion, 3,268 had had two and 828 had had three. Seventy women had at least five previous abortions.

Abortions in Scotland numbered 11,870 in 2002, but had risen every year since then following the introduction and promotion of the morning after pill.

Looking at the new Scottish figures, the BBC indicates young women between 16 and 19 had the highest abortion rates at 22.3 per 1,000 and 334 abortions were done on girls under the age of 16.

Tayside had the highest abortion rate at 15.9 per 1,000 and the numbers revealed Scottish communities with the highest per capita income had the lowest abortion rates while lower income towns had the highest rates.

Meanwhile, Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign in Ireland told LifeNews.com that the latest Irish abortion figures released today by the British Department of Health show another reduction in the number of Irish women traveling to Britain for abortion.

In 2009, 4,422 Irish women traveled to Britain for abortions, down from 4,600 for the previous year. It is the eighth consecutive year that Irish abortions have declined after more than a decade of upward trends.

Cullen said her group “welcomes the downward trend in Ireland’s abortion rate.”

“Some have suggested the reduction in abortions may be as a result of more Irish women opting for abortions in other European countries. But this is purely anecdotal as there is no statistical evidence to back up these claims,” she said. “Holland is often mentioned as a country where more Irish women may increasingly travel for abortions but the official Dutch figures in recent years show little or no change in the number of abortions on foreign nationals.”

She added, “Groups advocating abortion in Ireland claim that we need to introduce abortion here to “confront the reality of crisis pregnancy.”

Cullen continued: “This attitude completely ignores the humanity of the unborn child and the latest peer reviewed research showing the negative consequences of abortion for women. Rather than seek to have abortion introduced in Ireland, we should see the latest reduction in the abortion rate as very encouraging and work together to ensure this downward trend continues.”

Ireland’s abortion rate is now 4.4 per 1,000 female residents aged 15-44 where Britain’s is 17.5.

The Irish Family Planning Association called for the government to legalize abortion in Ireland even though the number of abortions is dropping.