Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Thousands of Irish women express gratitude for illegal abortion pills

abortion pills.jpg

Thousands of women in Ireland and Northern Ireland have reported relief and gratitude following the use of abortion pills, a new study has found.

In both countries, abortion is illegal – unless the mother’s life is at risk or, in the case of Northern Ireland, if her mental health is in jeopardy. But a study has found that women have been illegally obtaining the pills, given no other option. The women also reported feeling only one regret: that they had to break the law in order to have an abortion (using such pills can result in a life sentence), making them feel like second-class citizens.

The paper, published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, found that 5,650 women from both countries accessed the abortion pills from 2010 to 2015, and that women aged 25 to 34 are the most likely demographic to seek access to such medication – with almost 50% of this group seeking the service.

The lowest percentage users were women under 20, who made up 4.6% of those using the service, and over 45s, who made up 2.6%.


Read more: “I had an abortion this week. How different things would be if I were in Northern Ireland”


Most of the women seeking the abortion pills were found to already have a child, and they maintain that taking the pills was the right choice for them, and 98% of women said they would recommend the pills to others.

Researchers from the University of Texas, Austin, who conducted the study, analysed information provided by Netherlands-based organisation Women on the Web, and claim it is the first proper indicator of how many women are seeking the medication.

The most common reason cited (by 62% of women) for using the service was that they could not cope with having a child “at this point in my life,” with “having no money to raise a child” cited as the second most likely reason (by 44% of women). 30% felt they were too young to have a child.

poland abortion

Hundreds of thousands protest in Poland against abortion ban on 'Black Monday' 3 Oct 2016

Failure of contraception was the most common reason respondents cited for pregnancy.

Earlier this year, a woman in Northern Ireland was reported by her flatmates for having taken the pills, and was given a three-month suspended sentence. The case sparked a series of protests. This latest study has found that the women most likely to take the pills are those who could not afford to travel to the UK to have an abortion – although many still do.

“These barriers create a stark health inequity: women with financial and social resources can access offshore termination of pregnancy, while women who lack such resources cannot,” says the paper


Read more: A look at reproductive rights around the world


Prof Abigail Aiken, who led the study, said “The findings of this paper contribute new and important evidence to the abortion policy debate in Northern Ireland.”

“Northern Irish women have described in their own words the benefits of access to safe early medical abortion for their health, wellbeing, and autonomy. The current abortion law, which dates back to 1861, harms women by creating a climate of stigma, shame, and isolation.”

Later this month, protesters are calling for a referendum to repeal the laws in the Republic of Ireland.

The news comes not long after the Polish government was forced to U-turn on an abortion ban, following protests by hundreds of thousands worldwide. 

Related

scarlett-johanssen-planned-parenthood.jpg

Scarlett Johansson: a woman’s right to choose is a human rights issue

rexfeatures_6069820d.jpg

#BlackMonday: Thousands of women strike against Polish abortion ban

repeal.JPG

Why protesters in 30 cities across the world marched to #Repealthe8th

More

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

An expert picks the ultimate classical music playlist

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2017

Puppy dog eyes are a thing and your dog makes them just for you

A study says dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2017

Here’s how to buy a house or a flat for the princely sum of £1

It's time to enter the real-estate raffle

by Megan Murray
20 Oct 2017

Oxford University under fire for shocking lack of racial diversity

One MP called the revelations an example of “social apartheid”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017

This prosecco festival is the best way to start feeling Christmassy

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Missing your 16-25 railcard? We have good news for you

Rail bosses have taken pity on cash-strapped millennials

20 Oct 2017

This man’s response to his friend’s period while hiking is everything

“I had NOTHING on me and I was wearing shorts”

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Rage, lust, power and warmth: how it feels to experience ‘red emotions

“I grew up being told my body was terrifying and my voice was unimportant”

by The Stylist web team
19 Oct 2017