As Of Today, Abortion Is Completely Legal In Ireland

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Ireland have welcomed the new year with huge changes, as abortion services are now completely legal in the country. 

In May 2018, the Republic of Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which was added to the Constitution in 1983, and gave equal status to the life of the mother and the life of the unborn, and made abortion illegal, except in extremely limited circumstances.

The referendum’s decision to liberalise Ireland’s ban on terminating pregnancies saw just over 66 per cent vote to repeal the amendment.

Laws were quickly passed after the referendum, and in December 2018, Irish President Michael Higgins signed the bill to legalise abortion.

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Today (January 1), at the turn of the new year, abortion services will be rolled out in Ireland, with services and a helpline now available.

Sharing the news on their official Twitter page, the Department of Health posted:

Abortion services will be provided by the HSE, through GPs or family planning services, and in maternity units and hospitals across the country, from today.

Abortion care will be free of charge to people who need it.

The tweet also included a link to a website offering ‘information and support on all your options, including continued pregnancy supports and abortion services’, as well as the number for the free helpline.

The new law allows for abortion services to be provided ‘on demand’ up to the 12th week of a pregnancy, and also applies in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality, or where the physical or mental health of the mother is in danger, the BBC report.

For those living in the Republic of Ireland, abortions are free through the Health Service Executive (HSE), while those residing outside the Republic of Ireland will have to pay for the procedure. The HSE is Ireland’s version of the NHS.

According to Sky News, Minister for Health Simon Harris, admitted it would take some time to ‘fully evolve and fully embed’ the services, but added ‘this is a very significant day for women’s healthcare’.

He went on:

When a women picks up the phone and looks for her options there will be many, many locations across the country where [she] can access this service.

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Despite the quick turnaround since the referendum, Dr Peter Boylan, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist working with HSE, said staff are ready to help women considering having an abortion.

He explained:

Our health service is ready to provide abortion services to people who need it.

Clinical guidance and training has been provided and circulated to healthcare teams nationwide to assist practitioners in the clinical decision making involved in providing abortion care.

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Pro-choice campaigners have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the new law, with one person writing:

The one thing that sticks out for me in 2018, is #repealingthe8th

This time last year, I would never have thought that we could have done it, and would be finally be offering abortion services here in 2019. I should have had more faith in our country.

People of Ireland, you truly outdid yourselves. [sic]

What a monumental day for the Republic of Ireland.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.