Public consultation on the abortion review

The Department of Health is holding a public consultation about abortion care in Ireland. You can make a submission online and tell the Government what you think about abortion in Ireland.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, 1st April 2022.

If you’ve ever had an abortion, an unintended pregnancy or a pregnancy that became a crisis;  if you have experience of abortion care provision; if you care about reproductive health and rights, your views are important.

Below is some information you may find useful if you are considering making a submission.

Ireland’s abortion law

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 came into effect on the 1st January 2019.

Abortion care is legal in Ireland up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is free to people normally resident in Ireland. Most people can access early medical abortion care from a local women’s health centre or a GP. This has been transformative for reproductive health.  However not everyone who needs abortion care can access it within the 12-week limit. Furthermore the mandatory 3-day waiting period following a first appointment with a doctor delays access for all women and prevents some women from accessing care.

Abortion is only legal after 12 weeks if there is risk to a person’s life or of serious harm to their health.

And it is legal in cases of fatal foetal anomaly. According to the law this is where medical practitioners agree that the condition affecting the foetus means it is unlikely to survive more than 28 days after birth. This means that many pregnancies that involve very serious anomalies cannot be terminated in Ireland.

Abortion is a criminal offence in all other cases: however only someone who assists with an abortion outside the law, and not the pregnant woman herself, can be prosecuted.

The review process

An Independent chair, Ms Marie O Shea, has been appointed. Her role is to analyse the findings of three strands of information: the views of service users, information from service providers, and submissions from the public consultation.

When the Chair completes her work, a report will be submitted to the Minister for Health. The report will make recommendations based on the review’s findings.

The IFPA’s views on the review