Abortion in Ireland

An unplanned pregnancy always means difficult decisions, but if you live in Ireland, you also have to navigate the law. Know your rights and make sure you choose the option that's best for you.

irish ferry leaving

An estimated 11 Irish women travel to England every day to have an abortion

Abortion law in Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland abortion is only legal if a pregnant woman’s life is at risk both mentally and physically.

In Northern Ireland, you can receive a medical abortion if the pregnancy is under 9 weeks and 4 days gestation but only if again a woman’s life is at risk both mentally and physically.

Activists in Ireland are campaigning to change the law, but if you need help in the meantime, here’s some information and advice.

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 about what to consider. Take the time to go over your options and remember that only you can make the right decision for yourself.

If you’re in Ireland and are thinking about having an abortion, there are support systems in place. Although abortions are illegal, the law does allow women to receive counselling and information about all their options.

Make sure you choose a respected service as 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 to contact, and Abortion Support Network has an extensive list of other legitimately supportive organisations.

How to get an abortion in Ireland

If you’ve chosen to have an abortion, it is your legal right to be able to leave Ireland to do so. Abortion Support Network was set up specifically to help women from Ireland and Northern Ireland access abortions abroad. They assist with fees and accommodation. Marie Stopes UK also provide information and support for women in Ireland, and can aid with arranging private treatment.

It is also your legal right to access free pregnancy counselling, free post-abortion counselling, and free post-abortion medical check-ups in Ireland, funded by the State. Be sure to take advantage of these to receive the best support.

Support during and after an abortion

You won’t just need to remember to organise practical things like money, travel, and accommodation, but also the emotional side of having an abortion.

It’s a big thing to travel elsewhere for an abortion procedure, so travelling with someone who can support you is important. You’ll also need caring for afterwards, 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 remember to go for the post-abortion counselling too. It could really help you process what’s happened and move forward.

Finding yourself pregnant unplanned is scary enough without having the added pressure of being in a country where it’s illegal to have an abortion. Hopefully by ensuring you’re reaching out to the best support, the process can be as smooth as possible.

Photo of irish ferry by Shutterstock

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Updated on 22-Dec-2015

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