Updated: Saturday, 4th July 2020 @ 11:37am

Abortions must be given to stop threat to women's health and life, insists Manchester councillor in Ireland row

Abortions must be given to stop threat to women's health and life, insists Manchester councillor in Ireland row

By Mancunian Matters staff

Abortions must be granted to women if their health and life is under threat, claimed a Manchester Lib Dem councillor.

Irish-born councillor for Levenshulme James Hennigan refused to be drawn into the argument over Ireland’s recent abortion controversy, instead echoing his party’s pro-choice policy.

Savita Halappanavar died last week after a Galway Hospital delayed her potentially life-saving abortion and Cllr Hennigan’s comments come after more than 50 members of the European Parliament called on the Irish government to change their abortion legislation.

“This is not a party political issue with there being broad opinion across all three of the main parties,” he told MM.

“I would hope that in an ideal world there would not be any abortions, because all babies would be born healthy and wanted.

“I support the line of the Lib Dem MEPs to allow abortions in cases where women’s health and life is under threat through pregnancy complications.”

According to Department of Health statistics, Manchester carried out 2,964 abortions last year – the highest rate in the entire North West – only Hertfordshire, Hampshire and Surrey had higher rates.

The rate of abortions among Mancunian under-18s was also the highest in the North West, with 197 carried out last year.

The Abortion Support Network, who provide help to Irish women requiring an abortion, uses two clinics in Manchester, including the South Manchester Private Clinic.

Spokeswoman Mara Clarke said the group has seen the numbers of Irish women in financial difficulties coming to the organisation have increased dramatically.

“The women we hear from are in financial need,” she said.

“We don’t believe there are good abortions and bad abortions. A woman doesn’t have to justify to us why she’s getting a termination.”

“While the numbers of women travelling to the UK from Ireland is going down, the
numbers of women calling us is going up,” she added.

“I really think the numbers are underrepresented in terms of the number of women accessing terminations.”

Official statistics show Irish women coming to the UK for abortions have recently dropped, from 5,503 in 2010 to 5,156 in 2011. 

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