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Ireland’s Abortion Services: Following Monday’s RTÉ Investigates documentary, the Oireachtas must urgently reform abortion law – Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA)

By 16 April 2024News

Statement from Chief Executive of the Irish Family Planning Association, Niall Behan:

“The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) calls for urgent legislative action after last night’s broadcast of the RTÉ Investigates documentary on Ireland’s abortion services. This documentary shines a much-needed light on the harsh reality of the exclusionary and restrictive provisions in the law.

“Marie O’Shea’s review of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was unambiguous: there are significant flaws in the law. These include the criminal provisions, the strict 12-week gestation limit, the medically unnecessary three-day mandatory waiting period and the restrictive definition of fatal foetal anomaly.

“It is unacceptable that a year after the publication of Ms O’Shea’s report, no legislative reforms have come before the Oireachtas.

“The IFPA knows from delivering our services every day that the failure to implement the recommendations of the O’Shea review has very real and harmful impacts on people who need this essential healthcare across Ireland. Immediate legislative reforms are needed to address the already identified harms, delays and barriers that impede access to abortion care.

“This was made abundantly clear by the evidence and expert analysis of the O’Shea report. RTÉ’s documentary underscores the need for urgent action to address the flaws in the law.

“The ongoing failure to enact legislative and operational reforms is a serious disservice to those who need access to abortion and to the people who voted yes in 2018.”


Press Contact: Maeve Taylor, Director of Advocacy and Communications 086 795 2167, or email

Notes to Editor

Abortion Services in Ireland

  • Abortion in Ireland is regulated by the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. A woman or pregnant person can have an abortion for any pregnancy that is less than 12 weeks. The decision is theirs and they do not have to explain their reasons to anyone.
  • Early medical abortion care can be accessed from a providing GP, family planning clinic or women’s health centre up to 9 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. After 9 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, HSE guidance is that people should be referred by their doctor to have their abortion in a hospital.
  • Those accessing abortion under 12 weeks of pregnancy are required to attend two doctors’ appointments. Between the first and second appointment, there is a three-day waiting period. This is imposed by law and cannot be waived.
  • After 12 weeks, abortion is only accessible when there is (1) a risk of serious harm to the health or life of the pregnant person, or (2) there is a condition likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before birth or within 28 days of birth (commonly referred to as a fatal foetal anomaly).

About the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA)

  • The IFPA is a leading provider of abortion care in Ireland, with clinics in Tallaght and Cathal Brugha Street.
  • The IFPA offers non-directive and non-judgemental specialist pregnancy counselling to all our abortion care clients. This can be a particular support during the stress and anxiety that some people experience throughout the mandatory waiting period. As a pro-choice organisation, the IFPA supports people whatever their decision, whether this is abortion, parenting or adoption.
  • Abortion care and specialist pregnancy counselling services are free to residents of Ireland and are funded by the HSE.