Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 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  • 2018: Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution was repealed by referendum in May 2018.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.

Source: http://www.ippfen.org, http://www.ifpa.ie, https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life Until viability*
Because of foetal impairment No limit**
To preserve a woman’s mental health Until viability*
To preserve a woman’s physical health Until viability*
For economic and social reasons
On request 12 weeks from LMP

* Except in an emergency ** For fœtal impairment deemed to be fatal

Source: Houses of the Oireachats (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105/)

Legal conditions

According to Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018

  • 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

Guided by other legislation. No specific mention in Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018.

  • 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).

Source:

  • Houses of the Oireachats – https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105/
  • electronic Irish Statute Book (eISB) – http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1997/act/26/enacted/en/html
  • Tusla – Child and Family Agency – https://www.tusla.ie/children-first/mandated-persons/

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes Yes
Another physician office Yes Yes Yes
Midwife office
Abortion centre/clinic Yes Yes Yes
At home No No Yes

Source: Houses of the Oireachats (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105/)

Mandatory pre-abortion examinations

  • None

Involved healthcare professionals

  • Surgical abortion: obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN), another physician or another health care professional up to 12 weeks from LPM; OB/GYN only beyond 12 weeks from LMP
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN, another physician or another health care professional up to 12 weeks from LMP; OB/GYN only beyond 12 weeks from LMP

Source:

  • Tithe an Oireachtais, Houses of the Oireachats – https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105/

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1,000 women aged 15-49

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source:

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.

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/9851a-fourth-annual-report-on-notifications-in-accordance-with-the-health-regulation-of-termination-of-pregnancy-act-2018/

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 141.7 (2022)

Source: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-vsys/vitalstatisticsyearlysummary2022/

Abortions performed “on request”: % ()

Source:

Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source:

Induced abortions per gestational age ()

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source:

Place of abortion ()

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source:

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

"Abortion rate per 1,000 women according to age" or "Distribution of induced abortion according to women age" ()

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source:

In 2022, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 99.8% lived in Ireland.

Source:

  • https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/9851a-fourth-annual-report-on-notifications-in-accordance-with-the-health-regulation-of-termination-of-pregnancy-act-2018/

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-vsys/vitalstatisticsyearlysummary2022/

Women age at first birth

  • 31.5 years of age (2022)

Overall contraception data

94% of people aged 18-45 used a contraceptive method (2010)

  • 43% used oral contraceptive
  • 11% used intra-uterine device (IUD)

Source:

  • https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-vsys/vitalstatisticsyearlysummary2022/
  • McBride O, Morgan K, McGee H. Irish Contraception and Crisis Pregnancy Study 2010 (ICCP-2010). A Survey of the General Population. Crisis Pregnancy Programme Report No. 24. Dublin: Health Service Executive Crisis Pregnancy Programme (CPP), 2012. (https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/publications/corporate/iccp2010.pdf)

Country-specific characteristics

  • 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.

Source:

  • Houses of the Oireachats (https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/105/)
  • IPPF European Network (http://www.ippfen.org/)

Download statistics of Ireland

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.

Abbreviations: EFTA = European Free Trade Association | EU = European Union | IUD = intra-uterine device | LARC = long-acting reversible contraception | LMP = last menstruation period | GYN = gynaecologist | HCP = health care professional | hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin | HIV = human immunodeficiency virus | OB = obstetrician | Rh = Rhesus | US = ultrasound

A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 23 October 2023