Every day, between 10 and 12 women and girls living in Ireland travel to England for an abortion. The majority of the women are aged between 20 and 34. Their reasons for terminating their pregnancies vary; however, their reason for travelling is the same. They cannot access safe and legal abortion services in Ireland, as procuring an abortion there is a criminal offence except where the pregnancy poses a “real and substantial” risk to their life. Human rights bodies have repeatedly held that restrictive abortion laws, including those that exist in Ireland, violate women’s and girls’ rights to life, health, privacy, non-discrimination and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment. The withholding and denial of abortion-related information to women, as Ireland’s Regulation of Information Act requires, also violates fundamental human rights, including the rights to information and freedom of expression. The findings of this report reveal violations of these human rights and demonstrate that Ireland is not implementing its international obligations to respect, protect and fulfil these rights.
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