Prior to 2019, abortion could only be carried out in the Republic of Ireland “to avert a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman.“ The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 amended the Constitution to allow for legal abortion without restriction up to 12 weeks. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2019. The following information comes from Ireland’s Department of Health and has been combined with available birth data1 to provide an overview of the frequency and demography of abortion in the Republic of Ireland.
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ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS
- In 2019, a reported 6,666 abortions took place in the Republic of Ireland.
- An additional 375 residents of Ireland obtained abortions in Great Britain.
- Approximately 10% of all pregnancies in Ireland (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) currently end in abortion.
- Annual resident abortion totals by year:2
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 6,959 2,879 3,019 3,265 3,451 3,735 3,679 3,982 4,149 4,402 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 6,959 2,879 3,019 3,265 3,451 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 3,735 3,679 3,982 4,149 4,402
WHO HAS ABORTIONS?
- Resident data was not available for 7.8% of the 2019 abortions that occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
- Of the remaining abortions, 99% were performed on residents of the Irish Republic.
- Residents of Northern Ireland accounted for 67 of the 2019 abortions performed in the Republic of Ireland.
WHY DO ABORTIONS OCCUR?
- Less than 0.5% of 2019 abortions were performed for health reasons.
- Less than 2% of 2019 abortions were performed because of fetal anomaly.
ABORTION AND PUBLIC FUNDS
- The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 states that all resident abortions in Ireland will be paid for with public funds.
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- In 2019, there were 59,796 births recorded in the Republic of Ireland.
- All abortions prior to 2019 were performed in Great Britain. Abortion totals for these years come from the UK's Department of Health and Social Care.