1861: abortion is a criminal offence (Offences Against the Person Act, Sections 58 and 59)
1983: Inscription of article 40.3.3 in Irish Constitution
1992: Constitutional Amendment: no limit to have information or travel for the purpose of having abortion
1995: Regulation of information Act (services outside the state for termination of pregnancies)
2018 (ongoing): Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution was repealed by referendum in May 2018. Following this the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 (Bill 105 of 2018) passed through both houses of the government in December 2018. It allows for legal provision of abortion services and repeals the Regulation of Information Act.
Specific conditions due to COVID-19
Revised Model of Care for Termination in Early Pregnancy issued by the Health Service Executive and Department of Health on 7 April 2020
– Introduced model of remote service for the duration of the pandemic
– Waived two mandatory visits
– Enabled administration of both medical pills at home up to 9 weeks of pregnancy
Written consent by the woman
Pre-abortion examination (for abortion on request only)
Mandatory 3-day period between pre-abortion consultation and abortion procedure (for abortion on request only).
Specific conditions for minors
Specific legal counselling
Mandatory reporting of underage sex (minors under 17) where there are concerns that a minor may be at risk of abuse.
Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 16 to have an abortion, except where discretion is given by health care professionals (e.g., a mature 15 year-old).
Women either travel to Great Britain for an abortion or order medical abortion via Internet. In Great Britain, 3,092 women from the Republic of Ireland had an abortion in 2017. Approximately 2,000 women may have ordered online abortion pills in 2017.
94% of people aged 18-45 used a contraception method (2010)
– 43% used oral contraceptive
– 11% used intra-uterine device (IUD)
Pre-abortion contraception: Not applicable
Contraception during abortion process: Not applicable
After a referendum showed overwhelming support in May 2018 and associated legislation was passed in December 2018, abortion is no longer a criminal offence for a woman to access in any situation. However it remains a crime (up to 14 years in prison) to assist in or provide an abortion to someone outside of the specific legal circumstances.
Abortion is not taught during health care professionals’ (HCPs’) medical studies.
All HCPs have the right to conscientiously object. Nevertheless, they shall, as soon as may be, make such arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman.
The abortion service will be provided free of charge to all women ordinarily resident in Ireland (i.e., who have an Irish Personal Public Service Number). Women travelling from Northern Ireland or who do not have a Personal Public Service Number (e.g., recent migrants) will have to pay the full cost of 450 € to access an abortion in the first 12 weeks from LMP.
Travel to the UK or the Netherlands for an abortion is estimated at 800 – 1,200 €.