Abortion now legal in Ireland as President signs Bill into law

Abortion now legal in Ireland as President signs Bill into law

Abortion has become officially legal in Ireland after President Michael D Higgins signed the Bill into law today.

The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018 will allow access to abortion on request for up to 12 weeks and on restricted grounds beyond this from January 1.

More than 3,000 doctors were issued with clinical guidelines on abortion services yesterday.

GPs will be able to provide terminations via medication for women who are under nine weeks pregnant.

A woman will have three consultations with the doctor with a three-day delay between the first and second meeting.

Amnesty International welcomed the signing into law of the Bill, saying it was a "historical milestone" for Ireland.

“We welcome Ireland’s new abortion law as both a historical milestone for this country and an inspiration for millions of people globally," said Sorcha Tunney, Campaign Coordinator of It’s Time campaign for Amnesty International Ireland.

"Ireland’s abortion law was one of the most restrictive in the world, and today that is finally ending.”

“Today is also a day to reflect on where we have come from. For over 35 years, women and girls have been denied access to safe and legal abortion beyond when their life was at risk. Hundreds of thousands of women and girls were forced to travel, forced into secrecy and shame. They were gravely denied their human rights.

There are still significant flaws in the legislation that will create barriers to women accessing the care they need.

"We look forward to the full implementation of the Act but will be looking to engage with the Department of Health in its three-year review. We will continue our campaigning to make sure the law is human rights compliant, and that pregnant people are not prevented from accessing the healthcare they need,” Ms Tunney said.

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