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Published On: Tue, Apr 3rd, 2018

Ireland: Abortion network funds underage abortions in England, including one girl age 12

The Abortion Support Network (ASN) provided funds for dozens of underage Irish girls to undergo abortions in England in the past year, including one 12 year old.

ASN said that 52 girls under 16 used its service last year. At least two thirds of them were from the Republic of Ireland.

Mara Clarke, founder of ASN, said that her organisation had “helped” a number of pregnant children to access abortion in recent years.

photo Ivon19 via wikimedia commons

Last year it funded the cost of travel, accommodation and the abortion procedure for one girl aged 12, four aged 13, 17 aged 14 and 30 who were 15. Forty 16-year-old girls were also given the means to travel for an termination (the age of consent in Ireland is 17).

The Times obtained the figures after reporting on a case being investigated by the Irish police and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, of a 12 year old who travelled to the UK for an abortion last year.

SPUC has even more details: “In the case currently under investigation, the gardaí have sought DNA samples from the aborted foetus to confirm that a 15-year-old boy was the father and that the pregnancy was not a result of sexual abuse by an adult. In this case, clinic staff alerted the Irish authorities because of the girl’s age. However, it is not clear if this is common practise. The reports give no evidence that ASN has been reporting any of the cases it has been dealing with to the police or Tusla.”

Responding to inquiries about the case, a Tusla spokesman said: ““In cases where a referral is received relating to an underage pregnancy, Tusla’s role is to assess and intervene where there are any concerns about the child’s safety or welfare, including whether the pregnancy is a result of child abuse.”

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