Abortion figures prompt fresh calls for reform of Northern Irish law

Abortion figures prompt fresh calls for reform of Northern Irish law

After the girl asked her doctor for an abortion, she was sent to Dublin, where she thought she would get an abortion.

When the case went before the courts, a judge heard that while the young girl was "agitated and angry" after being admitted to the unit "she did not suffer from an acute mental health disorder". A few days later she was cleared by another psychiatrist and released after a court determined she didn't have an actual mental health disorder, per Jezebel.

The statistics released this morning show 240 women under the age of 19 had an abortion in the United Kingdom during 2016.

ARC spokeswoman Linda Kavanagh said, "Looking at the report, it's hard not to think that the psychiatrist in this case essentially used the Mental Health Act as a tool to force a child into continuing an unwanted pregnancy due to their own personal beliefs".

About 80% of the women from Ireland had not had an abortion before, the report stated. Perhaps with this report and the research backing it, the conversation on abortion and access to safe reproductive health care may grow stronger in Ireland.

Another 724 women gave addresses in Northern Ireland.

Mara Clarke, the founder of the Abortion Support Network, a charity that gives financial assistance to women from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to travel to England for treatment, said her organisation had seen a 24% increase in calls from women asking for help in the past year, as news of prosecutions created a climate of fear.

The HSE said the figures compare to 2001 when 6,673 from the Republic had abortions.

Thirty-four women travelled from Ireland for an abortion in the Netherlands in 2015.

Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign said the decrease in the number of Irish women seeking abortions in the United Kingdom is "a very welcome development".

"These figures had been steadily declining year on year, apart from 2015 when there was a slight increase".

Helen Deely, Head of the HSE Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme added: "It appears that the rate of women travelling overseas for an abortion declined relatively rapidly between 2001 and 2007 and in recent years the decline has been more gradual".

The figures are contained in a report published by the department.

"This is because women change their minds, experience a spontaneous miscarriage, decide to travel overseas to obtain an abortion or decide to continue with their pregnancy".

The agency also said one in 10 women who took abortion pills reported to the provider that they were experiencing a symptom that required medical advice or treatment.

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