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Abortion

Abortion and the law

If you are considering abortion, a crisis pregnancy counsellor can help you to explore this option. Services listed here have trained and experienced counsellors that are available to support and listen. Information on this option may be provided under certain legal conditions, some of which are outlined below.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland, except where doctors decide that there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother. This includes the risk of suicide.

Is it legal for a woman to travel outside Ireland to have an abortion?

Yes. A woman has the right to travel abroad to have an abortion.

Is it legal for a crisis pregnancy counsellor to discuss abortion with a woman?

Yes. Counsellors are allowed to discuss abortion with a pregnant woman. If you ask them, counsellors from all of the services listed on this website will discuss abortion with you during a crisis pregnancy counselling session. But, there are legal restrictions on how you can be given information on abortion services outside Ireland.

Is it legal for a woman to be given contact information about abortion services outside Ireland?

Yes. It’s legal to give such information, but the person giving can only do this under certain conditions.

How is abortion information provided to pregnant women?

Abortion information can only be provided directly to a pregnant woman if she asks for it during a counselling session. Abortion information can be given by:

  • crisis pregnancy counselling services
  • individual counsellors giving crisis pregnancy support
  • GPs and other doctors

Will all organisations give details for abortion clinics?

If you ask for contact details for abortion clinics, almost all of the organisations listed on this website will give you them during a crisis pregnancy counselling session.

CURA and Anew will not give you these details.

What do I need to know before I take part in a counselling session?

Before your counselling session begins, the crisis pregnancy counsellor should tell you what information they are willing to:

  • give you during the session
  • discuss during the session

If you feel the service is not going to give you the information you need, you should make another appointment with a different crisis pregnancy counselling service.

Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013

In Ireland, you can only have your pregnancy legally terminated in very limited circumstances. These circumstances are set out in the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.

To have an abortion in Ireland, a specialist doctor or doctors must be of the opinion that:

  • you have a physical illness and there is a real and substantial risk to your life if you do not have a termination
  • you have a medical emergency and there is an immediate risk to your life if you do not have a termination
  • you are suicidal and there is a real and substantial risk to your life if you do not have a termination

The risk must be real and substantial and this risk must be to your life.

For more information on the process that must be followed if you are to have your pregnancy terminated in Ireland, please download Information for Pregnant Women on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.