Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.46 30 Jun 2020


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Meath TD Peadar Tóibín has claimed it is "a devastating day" after new figures on abortion were published.

A total of 6,666 abortions were carried out in Ireland last year, according to official statistics.

A majority of the terminations - 6,542 - took place in early pregnancy.

Some 100 were related to cases where there were conditions likely lead to the death of a foetus.

The remaining 24 were conducted when there was a risk to life or health of the woman - including three cases in an emergency.

The Aontú leader was a strong opponent of repealing the Eight Amendment.

The referendum was passed by 66.4% in May 2018.

Deputy Tóibín told The Hard Shoulder: "For human rights campaigners across the country this would be a devastating day: 6,666 human lives were ended by the State last year.

"That's a figure over 2,000 extra abortions carried out than the previous year, which is an increase of about 40%.

"As people will remember during that campaign, one of the points that we were making was that there would be a radical increase in the number of abortions that would happen as a result of the legalisation in Ireland.

"It's the same internationally as well - and this has come to pass as well.

"So it's a very, very difficult day for many people who, obviously human rights is very important.

"We believe there should be a compassionate response to many mothers who are in difficulty.

"At the time the government was talking about 'women should have the right to choose' - but today we have women giving birth who are homeless, we have women queuing at the Capuchin Day Centre for nappies and infant formula today.

"And we have a situation where many women are in poverty and feel they don't have a choice.

"So the Government have actually focused none of their energies on actually lifting women out of poverty and giving them a real choice".

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik was in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.

She said: "When one looks back at the data on abortions carried out on women travelling from Ireland to Britain over many years prior to the legalisation of abortion here, we see there's indeed thousands of women living here in Ireland have had abortions in England over the years.

"In the 1990s, there were 5,000 or 6,000 women travelling every year, and we have those figures Ivan from the British Department of Health which collects them from the clinics there".

"So the figures disclosed in this new report really are not significantly different to those which we knew about concerning women who had to travel or who were importing pills.

"Women and girls were importing pills here, they were taking them without medical supervision and at risk of criminal prostitution under our laws prior to repeal.

"And that was a significant factor for the legislators - all of us - and indeed for the people in voting for repeal and in voting for legal abortion".

'A devastating day' - TD reacts to new abortion figures

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Main image: Meath TD and Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín. Picture by: Jack Quann/Newstalk

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