A PRO- CHOICE campaigner has said she is not surprised by a report in The Corkman on the number of Cork women travelling to the UK for an abortion - and says the real figure is higher.
Linda Kelly of the Cork Feminista group said that while the exclusive report by The Corkman revealed that six women a week seeking abortions provide Cork home addresses, more women from the county will give other addresses.
"I think it is no surprise, we are well aware that a number of women go abroad every year. In fact, the numbers themselves are an understatement, they don't reflect the number of Irish women who don't include their actual Irish address, many provide the address of a relation or friend in England. There are far more women going," Ms Kelly said.
"It proves that we really need to move on this issue, you don't need to be expert to know that. We need to be grown up enough as a country to realise that there are women who are pregnant who can't continue with that pregnancy for a variety of reasons and they need a variety of options to address this.
"In these cases the best person to make a decision is the woman herself, not the government or the bishops."
Ms Kelly said the combination of legislation and regulation was the best solution proposed by the Expert Group. "It is brilliant that the government is taking it on board despite horrendous ads targeting Fine Gael TDs and vicious campaigning. We have waited 20 years for this. After 20 years, a Supreme Court case, two referenda and a variety of cases coming to light it is time for action," she said.
"This will really only cover the X Case and will not provide for a termination in cases where the child won't survive after birth or in cases of rape and incest. Those cases need to be looked at next.
Women who know that their child won't survive have to travel for procedures, and experience depths of horrendous grief because they can't be comfortable in their own home."
She further accused those claiming that suicide should not be grounds under which abortion is permissible of being disrespectful of those with mental health issues.
"I think it is disrespectful to say that about anyone experiencing mental health issues. The premise of such an argument is that women will lie in order to be able to access what is the constitutional right of any woman in Ireland as decided by the Supreme Court.
"People can waste their time trying to deny what is available to any woman under our constitution, but ultimately it is a red herring that is playing on people's worries.