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Abortion pills

What is an abortion pill?

Abortion pills, or abortion tablets, are designed to bring on an abortion. These can be used in the first trimester of pregnancy. This means that they can be taken up to 12 weeks since your last period. They are designed to be used with medical advice and supervision to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you to take these medicines.

Can I get an abortion pill in Ireland and take it at home?

Abortion pills are not legally available in Ireland. In Ireland, it is also against the law for anyone to supply a “prescription-only” medicine online.

It is not legal to buy an abortion pill in Ireland online or to get it for free from any source. A medical practitioner, either in Ireland or abroad, cannot provide an online prescription for the abortion pill, with the intention of it being supplied or used in Ireland. These medicines may be seized by Customs.

Abortion pills should only be prescribed after a face-to-face medical consultation in a country where abortion is legal. They should only be taken under medical supervision, where staff can act quickly if you suffer from complications.

What are the possible side-effects of taking an abortion pill?

If you buy abortion pills online or from a friend, there is no way of knowing what is in the tablets and what the side effects of taking them might be.

The side-effects of abortion tablets can include:

  • excessive bleeding
  • pain
  • a sudden physical collapse
  • diarrhoea
  • shortness of breath

It is very unsafe for you to take these pills without proper medical supervision. Also, the pills may not work properly.

If you suffer from excessive bleeding or pain, or other complications after taking an abortion pill, you should seek medical attention straight away from your GP, a family planning clinic or local hospital.

Medical staff will always help you if you are in this situation. However, they may find it difficult to treat you if they do not know exactly what was in the pills you have taken.

If you need medical attention after taking abortion pills, bring any information and packaging that came with the pills to the hospital, GP or family planning clinic. This will help them to diagnose your problem and decide how to treat you.

What is the difference between taking an abortion pill at home and taking it in an abortion clinic abroad?

There are three significant differences between taking the abortion pill at home and taking it in an abortion clinic.

Attending an abortion clinic abroad is legal. Under Irish law, women have the right to travel to get an abortion. It is not legal to buy the abortion pill in Ireland, or to get it for free.

When a woman attends an abortion clinic, her medical history is taken, the pregnancy size and location is confirmed and any risk factors are identified to make sure that the abortion pills would be suitable for her. If suitable, she takes the pills at the clinic, with an interval between doses, under a doctor’s supervision to bring on an abortion. This means that if there are any complications, a doctor is on-hand to deal with them.

A woman has no way of knowing if an abortion pill ordered online or obtained from a friend is a “genuine” abortion pill. This pill may not work. There is no way of knowing what these products actually contain and what the side-effects might be for her. This is potentially very unsafe.

If you have taken an abortion pill without medical supervision, please visit your GP or local hospital.