Over 4000 women travelled from Ireland to England and Wales for abortions in 2015, report finds
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Over 4000 women travelled from Ireland to England and Wales for abortions in 2015, report finds

STATISTICS published by the Department of Health have confirmed that the highest number of non-residents to have legal abortions carried out in England and Wales came from Ireland.

Women travelling from the island of Ireland made up 82.6 per cent of non-residents to have abortions in the UK in 2015, 4284 in total.

3451 women came from the Republic of Ireland, with a further 833 women from the North of Ireland travelling to England and Wales to have abortions.

41 per cent of women travelling from the Republic of Ireland came from Dublin.

The figures are lower than 2014, with a decrease in the number of legal abortions carried out overall.

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In 2014, a total of 4572 women from the island of Ireland had abortions in England and Wales, with 3735 from the Republic of Ireland and 837 from the North of Ireland.

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland stipulates that termination of a pregnancy is only permitted in very limited circumstances.

Abortion is also illegal in the North of Ireland as the 1967 Abortion Act, which legalised abortion in England, Scotland and Wales, never applied to the North.

Roughly 12 women a day from the island of Ireland have abortions in England and Wales.

In November 2015, Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced that a citizens’ convention to debate changes to the Eighth Amendment would be held within six months of the general election, if he was re-elected.

However, there are no plans to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which would be a pre-requisite to any changes to the Constitution.

Earlier in May, Sabina Higgins, wife of Ireland's President, Michael D Higgins, sparked controversy after she made comments suggesting she supported abortion.

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Mrs Higgins described circumstances in which mothers were made to carry babies with fatal foetal abnormalities against their will as an “outrage against women”.