For many years, thousands of women have travelled from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man to England for abortions. These people have had 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.

On May 25th 2018 the Irish people voted to repeal the eighth amendment, and on 1st January 2019 the Irish Health Service began providing abortion care, on request up to 12 weeks, and beyond in certain circumstances. There will still be hundreds of people who need to travel each year.

In Northern Ireland (despite being part of the UK), abortion is illegal in almost all circumstances and it is virtually impossible for women to access an abortion legally. Since October 2017 it has been possible for those who need an abortion to travel to England and access one for free on the NHS. In some circumstances travel and accommodation is also paid for by the government. However, pregnant people must still travel.

In the Isle of Man there is no provision of abortion (although this will soon change), 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.