Bring Them Home


Phil Lang writes:

I was wondering if you would be interested in publishing some data and graphs [I did up today] on the number of Irish women who travelled to Great Britain in 2011 for abortions?

Statistics from the UK Department of Health website .

63 thoughts on “Bring Them Home

    1. colm

      I would be interested to see how many of those were a result of health rape etc issues that 100% mean we have to legislate or how many of these are because of non use of contraception etc. In the latter I would fundamentally disagree with abortion.

      1. Dearbhla O'Connor

        If you’re suggesting that some people used abortion as a form of contraception, then I suggest you do a price comparison between the two.

      2. cluster

        Does it matter whether it was the woman’s ‘fault’ she became preganant or not? If someone does not want to carry a baby through pregnancy, then it is not in any living person’s interest that she does so.

        1. Auto Fill

          While I know you used the word “fault” to highlight the attitude of many that a pregnancy falls squarely on the shoulders of the woman – it makes me so angry and upset that such an attitude exists. An unplanned/crisis pregnancy is difficult enough as it is without the slut shaming. Who’s fault is it if a condom breaks? If a pill doesn’t work.
          If a woman wants to end a pregnancy for whatever reason, she should not have to justify it to anyone but herself. The fact that she needs to end it is enough. It’s not about fault or blame. Like you said cluster, it’s not in any living persons interest what choices a person makes about their own body.

      3. herself.there

        A pregnancy can be interpreted as a crisis pregnancy for of a multitude of reasons. Like contraceptive failure, coerced sex, pregnancy in the context of an abusive relationship (physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse), unplanned pregnancy in the context of a family at risk of poverty or already experiencing poverty (as far as I remember 61% of women who had abortions in the UK were already mothers). Unplanned pregnancy for women or families unable to care for a child eg. women with serious mental health issues, battling addiction or experiencing homelessness (or a variety of these). Unplanned pregnancy for women in institutional care… It is a very very cruel world out there. Not all women (or even most I would guess) of the women who find themselves in these situations or situations like them would elect to terminate their pregnancy. But I couldn’t imagine standing in front of a women in the midst of a crisis pregnancy and tell her “no you have to carry this pregnancy to full term”. It shouldn’t be “our” choice. If you can’t imagine a situation where you would or could ever choose to have an abortion then god bless your good fortune and I advise you never to have one but I wont be responsible to inflicting misery on women who’s lives have temporarily spun out of their control..

        A pregnancy can also be interpreted as crisis by a women who really really really doesn’t want to be pregnant at that time. Who knows at that point in her life she is unable to provide a solid future for a child

      4. agriolouloudo

        @ Colm

        There are no methods of contraception which are 100% successful in preventing pregnancy- well, unless you’re a p**** (no pun intended), which is probably the most successful form of contraception.

      5. Brian

        Your opinion on abortion is irrelevant to someone else. Live your life by it then and don’t get one. I personally would not like to be in the position of needing one, or a girl I was with having one without discussing it with me.
        But I certainly do not want to force my opinion on someone else. I am anti-abortion for me and whoever I am with and would discuss and find some solution to a pregnancy, but I am pro-abortion for whoever wants to take that decision in their life. It isn’t an easy one for anyone, so you leave that decision to the person themselves. In the event of health concerns for the woman – the woman always comes first before, law, state, church and anyone else’s opinion!

        1. Grimes

          Herself.There, I love you!
          That simple point “A pregnancy can also be interpreted as crisis by a women who really really really doesn’t want to be pregnant at that time. Who knows at that point in her life she is unable to provide a solid future for a child”
          Why can’t this be enough for some people?

          1. Brian

            Is this in response to what I said?
            My point is that it is for the people involved to discuss. You’re example – Let’s just say that the father was willing to take on all responsibility and had the resources to provide for the child. If the only reason was that the woman feared being able to provide a solid future for the child then perhaps she would prefer to have some options to consider instead of abortion or penury.
            I am pro-choice, just saying personally I’d prefer to take responsibility for what happens but in no way think my opinion should be forced on others. That is why the force of the state should not be involved in this, for law is just an opinion forced on you. Let those involved discuss it, or if the woman is all alone, then she has to bear it all alone. Anyway – complex issue. Leave it to people to find their own solution, it is no place for law.

  1. Jay

    Nice one and no surprises there. The law is suppose to reflect the people’s views eh? Let’s bring a vote on Abortion, see what happens. Of course, right now, with all eyes on the morons in gov, legislation for that pseudo-law will be quickly passed and that’s it.

    1. rotide

      You are very naive or very misinformed if you think an abortion referendum would pass tommorow. Unfortunatly (or fortunatly depending on your side of the fence), the law here does reflect the peoples views and those views say that abortion under most circumstances is illegal in this country.

      Hopefully this incident will indeed make the government legislate what the supreme court decided 20 years ago though.

  2. Micko

    Brilliant eh… 4000 young women that we send over to another country with no counselling or medical aftercare.

    Well done Ireland!

    1. Jess

      Good money for Ryanair too, I imagine.

      Horrible statistics. I’ve set up a standing order donation to ASN tonight.

      1. Friday

        Can you do that with an Irish account? I tried to do that a while back, but it seems they only accept UK SOs.

  3. Pad

    Incidentally, what’s the UK government’s problem with calling Ireland Ireland, or even the Republic of Ireland. No such thing as the Irish Republic.

  4. Munkifisht

    Sorry, but the first graph is pointless information. Yes, there are many Irish Women going to the UK for abortions, but why compare it to the number going to the UK from the rest of Europe. I am sure that Malta has a high number of Women going to Italy for abortions every year as they have a similar fecked up legal status. The other two graphs are interesting though. Feel like I’ve had my head in my hands this week thinking what the rest of the World thinks of us.

    1. cluster

      It is interesting because 4000 Irish women are travelling abroad every year for an abortion. No other of the UK’s neighbours are carrying on with this symbolic-gesture-but-turn-a-blind-eye-to-reality hypocrisy.

  5. Gallant

    The shame that these poor women must feel, knowing that they not only have to go through such a terrible thing, but also that they have to travel to a different country with limited support.

    Time we stop living in the past.

    1. Tommy

      The old way used to be to murder the baby after it was born. A century ago Ireland had a murder rate ten times what it is now but it was not classified as murder.

  6. cluster

    I had a conversation with a female friend of mine. She said that had she become pregnant at the ‘wrong time’, then she would have gone to the UK for an abortion, however she still did not feel comfortable supporting a pro-choice platform because other people might use this right casually or recklessly.

    The mind boggles, however I reckon she is far from alone in this thought process. The whole country knows that thousands of Irish women have abortions abroad and we accept it, however we are willing to sweep it under the carpet and ignore it.

    1. ffintii

      I was in London during the X case. I was naive and indoctrinated by my fundamental catholic Irish parents. I made some comments about it to female colleagues I worked with. They rounded on me. They both had very early stage abortions while at university because of bad birth control planning. It got me round to thinking that Rome.should not be our first point of call for legislation.

        1. Jess

          Several of their members are open about having had abortions, which they all declare to have been ‘the wrong choice’ and something they regret, which is sad. Interesting that they seem to be fine with having had that choice in the first place though…?

  7. Eamonn Clancy

    What would blokes do if it were us that got pregnant but couldn’t abort? Morning after pill? yes please and by the bucket load to. I’m pro choice, but some cop on please girls. Someone has to be allowed say it. The truth that dare not speak its name.

    1. deliverusfromevil

      Repost- if men got pregnant there would be an abortion clinic in every town, between the bookies and the pub.

      1. cluster

        I would be interested in getting actual polling data on this but my feeling is that Irish women are more squeamish about legalising abortion than Irish men.

        The attitudes that many, non-religious young Irish women hold often surprised me.

        1. Ella

          It’s a self-defense mechanism.

          Knowing that your right to your own body is always up for aggressive debate and might be denied you is scary. A lot of us learn young to try to differentiate between ourselves and those “other” kinds of women, who must surely be the *real* targets of the misogynists, the rapists, the pro-lifers etc. So if you can avoid doing whatever those women do you’ll be safe. They must be doing something to deserve it, afterall. Otherwise no woman is safe. Otherwise I’m not safe purely because I was born a woman. And that can’t be true, it’s too terrible to contemplate.

          A bollocks smoke screen, but a naturally seductive one.

    2. Jess

      Not everyone realises they could be pregnant within the 72 hours that the morning after pill is effective for.

      Cop yourself on, these women aren’t idiots.

    3. herself.there

      So crisis pregnancies are a result of lazy women who couldn’t be arsed going for the morning after pill. Ah here

      In other news there are more than three colours and remember when you were small and people used to steal your nose? It was actually just their thumb between their fingers.

    4. rayray

      Eamonn, if men had the discomfort involved in a smear test, let alone an abortion they would not assume people are using it casually as birth control. Jesus wept. It’s the lesser of two evils not a day at the zoo.

      1. lou

        IDK, I love a nice abortion on a sunny weekend. Even better if I couldn’t get money together for a flight/ferry and medical costs in time for a medical abortion, surgery is twice the fun!

    5. Grimes

      Well you obviously don’t know women’s reproductive systems well or you’d know that many women don’t realise they are pregnant until days or weeks after conception and by then the Morning after pill is no longer an option. Have some cop on please Mr Clancy

  8. sbn

    This is so sad. Having to travel so far, I imagine some alone, to have this emotional procedure. These stats are deplorable. And how many of these cases are medically-recommended terminations due to a severe abnormality with the foetus? A very close female relative had to travel to the UK like a f*cking criminal to have a medical termination of a foetus at 24 weeks gestation due to it having had a stroke at 18 weeks, developing a bleed on the brain and hydracephaly and being told it would probably live about a week after a very invasive cross c-section that would most likely result in her losing her womb. F8CKING BARBARIC that HER country couldn’t give her the choice to be at home, close to her other children and support system. PLUS she had to pay thousands in travel and medical expenses. Ireland let her and the rest of her family down. Shameful.

    1. fits

      ^^^And many more like her too.

      It is absolutely disgusting that nothing has been done about this. Legislate for X, to start with.

  9. Neil

    I know people are going to assume I’m pro-life, by posing this question, but I’m genuinely not sure where I stand on the issue, I think it’s nuanced and each case needs to be considered carefully,

    That said, there’s clearly a few here who are pro-choice, Just wondering at what point in the pregnancy (if at all) would it be wrong to terminate?

    1. herself.there

      People have different views and the law in different countries varies too. Some of the thinking relvolves around the point of viability outside the womb. Which is the point at which a feotus can live without the support of the mothers womb, so around 24 weeks. But late abortions (post 12 weeks) are less common and alot of the time are linked to feotal abnormalities or unviable pregnancies, where the decision could be linked to more medical factors rather than something social (like rape, abusive relationships, women already living in poverty or with psycho-social reasons for not feeling capable of having a child or another child). I’m not sure what the law is like in the uk for late terminations but the UK isn’t necessarily a perfect model for us to consider… Sorry if I’m not crystal clear on this one but tis my 2 cents.

      1. Neil

        Thanks for the reply. For the record, I’m well aware of the law and the limit of viability. I suppose though that the limit of viabiity has been reduced to 24 weeks with the introduction of synthetic surfactant and other medical advances. I get the impression though that some people posting here are very pro-choice and downright rude to others who disagree.

        I’m just curious as to whether if further medical advances reduced viabiity to 20 or 22 weeks, or whatever, would opinions change. Or really is a woman’s choice the only thing that matters.

        1. Jess

          It would take some serious medical advances to move the viability limit any further, as even at that point the foetus’s lungs and many other major organs are extremely underdeveloped. I read today however of advances in ‘artificial womb’ research which could someday be useful in certain circumstances.

          Personally(and I know I am a rarity here in holding such a liberal view) I think a time limit on abortion is largely pointless – women who want abortions have them as soon as possible, and late-term abortions are almost always wanted due to foetal abnormalities(many of which can only be detected from about 20 weeks gestation onwards) or complications that endanger the health and well-being of the mother.

          The 24-week limit, which I believe is as sensible as such a limit can be, catches out women who didn’t, for whatever reason, realise they were pregnant til it was too late and women who are pressured by family or partners to delay their abortion til the convenient limit, amongst others.

          1. fits

            I think the limit for free access to abortion should be 12 weeks. Abortion only for medical reasons beyone that.

            I sincerely doubt legalising would turn into an abortion bonanza. It is not a decision that any woman takes lightly, and tbh, I dont think I could do it myself. But there are so many situations where people need to be able to choose for themselves whether to carry a baby to term or not.

          2. Jess

            Then why restrict it after 12 weeks?

            Here’s a fun fact: Canada has no abortion laws. Zero. It is legal anytime a woman wants it. Canadian babies still get born! In fact, they have a similar abortion:live birth ratio as the UK. The difference is that *nobody* is criminalised for making a choice that is right for them, or forced to carry to term.

  10. Séamus

    Last year, according to the stats above, there were 4149 women from the South and 1007 from the North, that’s 5156 women from Ireland who had to make their way across the water in order to have an abortion. Even in the age of no frills flights, that’s still not an easy trip to make for many people, never mind women trying to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.

  11. inkling

    @Eamonn: I have a close friend who had a condom break on her in the wee hours of the morning. She was at a clinic and had swallowed the morning-after pill less than SEVEN hours later. 72 hours, they say it’s reliable for, but not in her case. She wasn’t irresponsible – TWO methods of contraception failed her.
    Don’t be so bloody quick to make assumptions.

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