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12-week gestation limit for abortion care is exclusionary and inequitable

By 26 April 2022News

12-week gestation limit for abortion care is exclusionary and inequitable

Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) to call for overhaul of abortion law during Oireachtas Health Committee hearing

The IFPA will appear before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health tomorrow, Wednesday, 27th April. The IFPA will tell the Committee that a major overhaul of the 2018 legislation is needed.

The IFPA will address the Committee, at its invitation, for “a high-level engagement to discuss issues that may be relevant to the Review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.”

The IFPA will tell the Committee that, while the availability of abortion care has been transformative for reproductive rights in Ireland, the 2018 Act is deeply flawed. The criminal provisions in the Act are not compliant with international human rights standards. In the IFPA’s view, the mandatory waiting period; the gestation limit at 12 weeks of pregnancy; and the restrictive criteria for access exclude too many in a crisis pregnancy situation.

After 12 weeks, availability of abortion is limited to two grounds: risk to the life or of “serious harm” to the pregnant woman’s health, and fatal foetal anomaly.  In the IFPA’s view this is far too restrictive.

Three representatives of the IFPA will attend the Committee; Medical Director, Dr Caitríona Henchion, Director of Advocacy and Communications, Maeve Taylor and Senior Policy and Research Officer, Alison Spillane.

In an opening statement on behalf of the IFPA, Ms Taylor will say:

“Most women and girls living in Ireland avail of abortion care well before 12 weeks of pregnancy. But crisis in pregnancy cannot be neatly confined to the first trimester.

“The IFPA’s experience is that the burdens of exclusion created by this limit fall disproportionately on the young, vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged.”

The National Women’s Council will also address the meeting.



For press and media queries please contact Communications Officer Sophie Mac Neice on 086 795 2167


  • The IFPA is a leading provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Ireland. The organisation offers a comprehensive range of services including contraception, abortion care and specialist pregnancy counselling, which support reproductive choice on a not-for-profit basis. The organisation promotes the right of all people to comprehensive, dedicated and affordable sexual and reproductive health information and services.