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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 10:32 GMT
Report highlights 'myths' over abortion
Focus is on Northern Ireland's abortion laws
Focus is on Northern Ireland's abortion laws
The image of Northern Ireland women who travel to England for abortions as being fearful of being found out or haunted by guilt is largely a myth, according to a new report.

The survey, carried out by the Marie Stopes organisation, suggests that what distinguishes women in Northern Ireland is that they suffer greater financial and personal costs as a result of having to travel to seek the service.

It says this is a result of the "uncertain and discriminatory legal framework for abortion in Northern Ireland".

The survey - The Other Irish Journey - will be published at Stormont on Tuesday.

It says there has been little movement or change in responses to key questions posed in an earlier survey conducted by the organisation.

Interviews

Marie Stopes International says abortion remains "politically mired, despite unequivocal support for change from respondents".


Northern Ireland women who cannot scrape the money together are being forced to proceed with unwanted pregnancies

Ann Rossiter, Irish Abortion Solidarity Campaign

More than 150 women were questioned, with face-to-face interviews conducted with a further 60 women.

The survey found that:

  • 95% would prefer to access abortions in Northern Ireland

  • 44% borrowed money to fund their abortions

  • 34% consulted their GPs on their decision

  • 95% supported the extension of the 1967 abortion act to Northern Ireland

    'Additional burden'

    The report was co-authored by Ann Rossiter and Mary Sexton of the Irish Abortion Solidarity Campaign.

    Ms Rossiter said: "Raising money for the journey and the cost of a private abortion proved a major additional burden for many of the Irish women interviewed.

    "Undoubtedly, many Northern Ireland women who cannot scrape the money together are being forced to proceed with unwanted pregnancies against their will, with all the psychological and physical consequences that implies."

    Jane Morrice of the Women's Coalition welcomed the report's publication.

    Progressive Unionist Party assembly member David Ervine supported the report's publication.

    He said: "It is a disgrace that in an alleged modern society such as the United Kingdom, women in this region are not being afforded equal citizenship."

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Anne Rossiter from Marie Stopes International
    "It is a question also for many women who may not have travelled much"
    See also:

    13 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
    Q&A: Abortion in NI
    30 Oct 99 | Northern Ireland
    PUP calls for extension of abortion act
    27 May 01 | Northern Ireland
    Bishop calls for abortion referendum
    02 Oct 01 | Northern Ireland
    New abortion referendum proposed
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