Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 10:12 UK

Fewer women go to GB for abortion

Positive pregnancy test
It is illegal for a woman in NI to have an abortion except if her life is at risk.

More than 1,000 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England for an abortion last year, according to official figures.

The total of 1,173 for 2008 is down on the figure of 1,343 for 2007.

The Department of Health report also showed that 4,600 women travelled from the Republic of Ireland, down slightly on last year.

Of the women who travelled from Northern Ireland most were aged in their 20s but 86 were under 17.

Abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland, except when the mother's life is at risk.

Betty Gibson chairwoman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in Northern Ireland welcomed the fact that the number of abortions was down by 170 on the previous year but said that a great deal more needed to be done to help women facing crisis pregnancies.

The family planning association (FPA) in Belfast said they welcomed the fact that the number of abortions had fallen.

However, FPA director, Audrey Simpson said: "We don't know how accurate these statistics are.

"Women are giving false addresses, they are travelling to countries outside of the UK for abortions and we are seeing a rise in women buying early medical abortion products online."

There were 195,296 abortions in England and Wales in 2008 compared with 198,499 in 2007, a fall of 1.6%.

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NI abortion guidelines published
20 Mar 09 |  Northern Ireland

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