Every year thousands of women travel from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to England for abortions. These people have to pay to travel to England and must have an abortion as a private patient, which costs anywhere from £400 to £2000, and sometimes more. Other costs are often incurred, including accommodation, childcare and time off work.

In both Northern Ireland (despite being part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland, abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances and it is virtually impossible for women to access an abortion legally. In both countries, however, women can legally travel abroad for an abortion and information can be provided about accessing abortions abroad (under certain conditions). In the Isle of Man there is no provision of abortion, and in the Channel Islands provision is more limited than in Britain.

According to data from the Department of Health, in 2016, 4,077 abortions were performed in England and Wales (the vast majority in England) on women resident in Ireland (3,265), Northern Ireland (724) and the Isle of Man (88). In total, since 1968, over 250,000 abortions are estimated to have been performed in England and Wales on women travelling from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The actual numbers of women having abortions are in fact much higher, with some women giving a false British address, travelling to other countries to access abortions, or accessing early medical abortion pills from the internet.

Further information about the law on abortion in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is available from Irish Family Planning Association and bpas.ie.