The Minister for Health Simon Harris yesterday read out the number of women in Laois and every other county in Ireland who travelled to the UK to access an abortion in 2016.
In his opening statement at the Dáil debate about the 8th amendment, Minister Harris said:
"Each crisis pregnancy is different and each involves a real woman facing a very difficult and very personal decision. Women from every county in Ireland travelled to the UK in 2016 to access an abortion and I think we need to acknowledge them all".
The Dáil will spend two days debating the report on the joint committee on the eight amendment of the constitution, in order to agree on wording for the changes to the constitition, and wording for the referendum.
He said "at least 3265 Irish women travelled to the UK alone, and we know they also travel to other countries".
In Laois, he stated that 42 women travelled, and in other midland counties, 28 went from Offaly, 36 from Carlow, 69 from Tipperary, 130 from Kildare, and 44 went from Kilkenny.
Of the women listed, over 1200 were aged 30 to 39, over 1500 were aged 20 to 22, there were 255 aged over 40, ten aged under 16, and 230 teenagers. Over half were married or in civil partnerships or relationships.
"We estimate that 170,000 have travelled since 1980. These are not faceless women, these are our friends, neighbours, sisters, cousins, mothers, aunts and wives," he said.