Abortion in Ireland
An unplanned pregnancy always means making difficult decisions, no matter where you live. Fortunately, recent changes to the law mean that abortion is now legal in Ireland. Read our article about abortion in Ireland to find out more about your rights.
Is abortion legal in Ireland?
Yes, following a referendum to repeal its abortion ban as well as mounting pressure from groups such as Amnesty International, abortion is legal in the Republic of Ireland up to 12 weeks gestation. Or later if the pregnant woman’s life or health is at risk from the pregnancy.
Abortion has also been decriminalised in Northern Ireland, which now follows the same abortion laws as the rest of the UK. This means that it’s legal up to 12 weeks gestation. Similarly, abortions after 12 weeks are lawful if there’s a threat to the mother’s health, if the foetus has a severe, debilitating impairment, or if it’s not expected to survive. You can find out more about abortion in Northern Ireland here. And if you want more information on abortion in the rest of the UK, see this article.
I’m pregnant and in Ireland – now what?!
If you’ve found yourself pregnant and aren’t sure of what to do next, have a read of our article ‘I’m pregnant, now what?’. We know this can be overwhelming and frightening at first. So take all the time you need to go over your options thoroughly. Remember, only you can make the right decision for yourself.
If you’re in Ireland and are thinking about having an abortion, counselling and information is also available to help you consider you options. Just be sure to choose a respected service. Sadly, some anti-abortion campaign groups have been known to masquerade as counselling services.
The Family Planning Association (FPA) for Northern Ireland, and the Irish Family Planning Association (iFPA) for the Republic of Ireland are good services for women, girls or anyone who is pregnant to contact. Plus, Abortion Support Network has an extensive list of other legitimately supportive organisations.
How to get an abortion in Ireland
To get an abortion in Ireland you can call the My Options support service on 1800 828 010 or contact any of these local organisations:
- a GP surgery
- a family planning clinic
- a women’s health clinic
Not all of these local clinics can provide abortion services. What’s more, there’s a lack of availability of abortion services in some areas. So depending on where exactly you live you may need to travel.
Assuming that you get through to someone though, you’ll initially have a pre-abortion consultation. Usually these happen in-person. However, due to delays resulting from the pandemic they are currently being taken over the phone or by video call.
It’s worth noting that in some circumstances, the abortion procedure must be carried out in hospital. These are:
- If you are more than 9 weeks pregnant
- Having any medical conditions or health-related illness
- If you have become pregnant despite using an IUD e.g. a coil or a loop
Are abortions in Ireland free of charge?
Yes, now that abortions are legal in Ireland, they are free of charge. As long as you actually live in Ireland. It’s also your legal right to access free pregnancy counselling, free post-abortion counselling, and free post-abortion medical check-ups in Ireland. These should all be funded by the State. Be sure to take advantage of these to receive the best support during what’s sure to be a difficult time.
Support during and after an abortion in Ireland
You won’t just need to remember to organise practical things like money, travel, and accommodation. There’s also the emotional side of having an abortion.
Attending the procedure with someone who can support you is important. You’ll also need to be looked after once the medical side of it is over. So be prepared for some self-care and be sure to have emotional support in place. Our article on how to deal with an abortion may help.
Women should have a medical check-up about two to three weeks after having an abortion. And do try to go for the post-abortion counselling too. It could really help you process your emotions and move forward. Hopefully by ensuring you’re reaching out to the best support, the process can be slightly more bearable.
Questions about abortion in Ireland? Reach out to our team for support.
By Nishika Melwani
Updated on 13-Jun-2022
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