UK records show decrease in women giving Irish addresses at abortion clinics - May 2016

The HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme today, 17th May 2016 commented on figures issued by the UK Department of Health which show that there has been a slight decrease in the number of women giving Irish addresses at abortion clinics. 

According to the UK Department of Health figures, the number of women giving Irish addresses at abortion clinics has decreased from 6,673 in 2001 to 3,451 in 2015, a decline of 48%.  This equates to a decrease in the abortion rate from 7.5 per 1000 women in 2001 to 3.6 per thousand women in 2015. 

The Programme also notes figures collated by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport which has emerged as the only other jurisdiction to which women from Ireland travel for abortion procedures in any significant numbers.  These figures have also been steadily declining. The number of women travelling from Ireland to services in the Netherlands was 31 in 2010, 33 in 2011, 24 in 2012, 12 in 2013 and 16 in 2014. 

Commenting on today’s figures, Head of the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme, Helen Deely said:  “This decline is welcome. It appears that the abortion rate is stabilising.  It declined relatively rapidly between 2001 and 2007.  In recent years the decline has been more gradual. 

“Women of all ages and all socio-economic background experience crisis pregnancy.  While nationally representative studies show that most women choose to become parents, others choose to have an abortion (Note 2).  If a woman makes the decision to have an abortion, it is safer for her to attend an abortion clinic in the UK or other country where abortion is legally available, than ordering the abortion pill online or from other sources and taking it at home alone. Data from the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) suggests that some women may be ordering the abortion pill online. (Note 5)  If a woman takes the abortion pill and has prolonged heavy bleeding, bad pain, fainting, or other complications, it is important that she attends an emergency department or GP straight away”.    For more information, visit and click on Abortion Pill.  


“While knowledge of the risks of unprotected sex have improved and the abortion rate has almost halved, the fact remains that unplanned pregnancy and abortion is still a reality for women in Ireland. We need to continue to ensure that women experiencing crisis pregnancy are aware of the free crisis pregnancy counselling services that are available in over 50 locations nationwide. We also need to ensure that women who decide to have an abortion are aware that free post-abortion medical check-ups and post-abortion counselling is available to them in Ireland”.


Crisis pregnancy counsellors provide free, ongoing support and information to women, their partners or family members. A list of crisis pregnancy services is available on  A list of post-abortion services is available on

Last updated on: 17 / 05 / 2016