What will happen to Ireland’s abortion rate after repeal?
Aug 6, 2018
In May, Irish voters backed a proposal to amend a constitutional provision which placed a ban on abortion in most cases. But what impact is the referendum result likely to have on the Irish abortion rate in the coming years? Eoin Flaherty explains that the circumstances which drive marriage, divorce, and abortion rates are complex and are not susceptible to short-term changes in social policy. As such, it is too simplistic to assume that a change in the law will necessarily result in a direct increase in the number of abortions being carried out.
Before going to the polls on 25 May, those opposed to liberalising Ireland’s abortion laws claimed the results of a successful repeal would be dire. One report on likely future scenarios from the ‘LoveBoth’ campaign, predicted an extra 5,300 abortions per year post-repeal. Due to its constitutional prohibition on abortion, Ireland does not keep reliable data on those who travel to procedure terminations, but of those who do, we are certain the majority travel to the UK. In 2017, a total of 3,092 terminations were procured by Irish women, constituting 64% of all terminations sought in England and Wales by non-residents.