,Limerick East): Last year, in the course of the Second Stage debate on the Bill regulating information on abortion services, I set out the Government's approach to the problem of unwanted pregnancy and abortion. I said that the Government regarded the incidence of abortion among Irish wonen as representing a serious problem. The other statistics quoted by the Deputy, in that they are to some extent indicative of unwanted pregnancies, also represent a serious problem.
The Government's approach to these problems is a comprehensive one, with two objectives — to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and to reduce the extent to which these end in abortion. It includes three elements.
Firstly, a major research study is in progress at present to identify the factors which contribute to the incidence of unwanted pregnancy and those factors which result in the option of abortion. The results of this research will provide a basis for the development of effective and properly targeted education programmes to help reduce unwanted pregnancy.