Over 1,000 packages of abortion drugs were seized by Irish authorities last year as evidence emerges that significant numbers of pregnant woman are taking illegal drugs to induce abortion in Ireland.

The Irish Medicines Board has confirmed that custom authorities in Ireland seized 1,216 abortion drugs last year.

The drugs used to induce abortion include Misoprostal and Mifepristone which are normally purchased on the Internet. Medical experts have warned woman about the dangers involved of attempting to induce abortion with these drugs.  If they are wrongly administered they can result in severe hemorrhaging or incomplete abortions.

Commenting on the issue the Irish Medicines Board said. “Counterfeit and illegal medicines pose a serious threat to public health. The board, in conjunction with the Revenue’s customs service and An Garda Síochána, continually monitors and investigates instances of illegal supply of medicinal products via the Internet and other avenues and we actively enforce suspected breaches of the law.”

Choice Ireland, a pro-choice organization said that the figures indicated that at least three woman a day were ordering drugs over the Internet in attempts to terminate their pregnancy.

“It is time to face up to the reality that Irish women will go to desperate lengths and take huge risks to end pregnancies they feel they cannot continue,” group’s spokeswoman, Sinéad Ahern told the Irish Times.

In 2009, 4,422 Irish women traveled to Britain for abortions, down from 4,600 for the previous year according to official figures from the British Department of Health.

It is currently illegal for anyone to have an abortion in Ireland except where there is a substantial risk to the mothers life. However many woman travel to the UK were the procedure is legal. It is not lawful in Ireland to encourage or advocate abortion, but information about abortion abroad can be made available by doctors or specific agencies.