Following last year’s referendum in which 66.4 percent of voters repealed the eighth amendment of the country’s constitution—one of the world’s most restrictive abortion bans, granting equal right to life for an unborn child and a pregnant woman—President Michael D. Higgins signed the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which legalized abortion nationwide.
According to BBC News, abortion services are now provided free of charge to residents of Ireland by general practitioners, family planning services, maternity units and hospitals across the country.
The abortion law allows for termination of pregnancy up to 12 weeks and when there is a risk to the life or serious harm to the health of the pregnant woman. While the law states that medical practitioners, nurses or midwives do not have to participate in or carry out an abortion in cases of conscientious objection, they must refer the pregnant woman to someone who will carry out the procedure.
Photo: Ciara Wilkinson