6666 babies had their lives ended by abortion in the first year of the abortion legislation introduced for 2019 by Simon Harris, new figures released today show. Pro-life advocates said the numbers were “horrific” and showed a huge increase in the number of abortions taking place on Irish women. 

In the twelve months to December 2019, 6666 abortions took place in Ireland according to the Department of Health who issued the report today. Previously, some 2,879 women travelled from Ireland to the UK for abortions in 2018, while an unknown number, estimated by some at 1,000 or more also took abortion pills.

The new report showed that 100 babies were aborted because of a severe or life-limiting condition, and that most abortions – up to 98% – were elective abortions, motsly carried out for social reasons.

The Life Institute said that the figures were “horrific and heartbreaking”, and that they proved when abortion was made legal the number of abortions carried out “always and inexorably rose”.

“We were told in the referendum that a Yes vote wouldn’t lead to an increase in the number of abortions, but that claim, like so many others, has been shown to be a lie,” the pro-life group said. “Simin Harris and Leo Varadkar assured us that abortion would be “legal and rare”: how can anyone call 6666 abortions rare?”

“How can anyone want more abortions to take place? It’s a shocking indictment of the failure of this abortion regime,” they said.

Life Institute said that the Yes campaign and the media had repeatedly claimed that abortion was required to protect women’s lives or for very rare hard cases, but the figures released today showed that most abortions were for social reasons.

“Behind that number are 6666 lives – babies who were unique and irreplacable but whose lives were ended and discarded, and 6666 women who were failed by this governemnt who offered them no other choice than abortion,” they said. “This figures should be Ireland’s shame – 6666 lives ended by Repeal. We have lost our sense of compassion, and people need to open their eyes to the reality of what the abortion referendum has meant – more and more abortions, and a failure to love and support women.”

David Quinn of the Iona Institute said figures from Britain showed some 375 Irish women had also travelled for abortions. “The total [for 2019] then comes to 7,041, a terrible figure,” he said.

Carol Nolan TD said “The numbers released today serve to highlight how government is consistently failing women in crisis by denying them access to meaningful supports. What is also profoundly alarming is the fact that we know from international experience that these numbers routinely go in one direction, upwards. We should be doing all that we can to avoid a situation arising where the deaths of thousands of unborn children within our health service becomes normalised and routine. The policy of supporting women and saving lives should be an ordinary not an extraordinary policy.”

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said that the vast majority of  abortions were not on the grounds of health. “98.2% of abortions that took place happened where there was no threat to the health or the life of mother or child notified. It’s also shocking that the abortion that took place outside of the law in the National Maternity Hospital in March 2019 is not mentioned at all in this report. Notification for this abortion was made outside of the statutory 28 days laid down by the legislation also only 1 obstetrician examined the mother in question. 15 months after this took place there still has been no independent investigation into what happened”.

“The establishment parties stated that their law was introduced to give mothers a choice. However, 18 months since the legislation was introduced many mothers are still forced to give birth homeless. Mothers still queue for food at the Capuchin Day Centre for nappies and infant milk. Practical supports to lift mothers out of poverty and give them real economic choice are as absent today as the day the establishment abortion law was passed,” he said.