Indeed, Ireland’s abortion ban does not stop abortions. It instead forces women and girls to have unsafe abortions, through having to travel overseas or to illegally take abortion pills without proper medical support. Some women can’t travel or access abortion pills, like women living in poverty or with disabilities. They are forced to remain pregnant again their will.
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Banning or heavily restricting abortion doesn’t lower abortions rates. It just makes the abortions that do happen less safe, including in Ireland. This was confirmed by the World Health Organisation when they addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment last year.
Ireland’s abortion may prevent a small proportion of women from having abortions in certain circumstances. Women who can’t travel abroad for an abortion because they lack the financial means. Or cannot get childcare. Or have a disability that makes travel impossible. Or because they are migrants without legal permission to travel. They may not be able to access abortion pills online illegally. So abortion bans hit them the hardest. These are the women forced to remain pregnant no matter how devastating the impact on their lives and families. If a state wants to lower abortion rates it should take measures to prevent crisis pregnancies. It should make sure people have proper sex education, especially young people. It should provide access to contraception, including emergency contraception.