What Article 40.3.3 means for women in Ireland

In law a woman and her pregnancy are treated as two separate lives, of equal importance, with separate rights. It means that a pregnant woman in Ireland has limited options.

A hospital can only provide abortion care in Ireland if continuing the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of a the pregnant woman, otherwise healthcare treatment must be delayed or denied. This law is called the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act.

If a woman decides to end her pregnancy, our Constitution only allows abortion care for women who are able to travel and have the relevant travel documentation.

An increasing number of women order abortion pills over the Internet, without any help or advice from her doctor. These women are currently breaking the law and face a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

The Eighth Amendment means that a woman or a girl who is pregnant as a result of rape or incest cannot end that pregnancy.

If a woman’s developing baby has a serious condition and will die in her womb, she cannot bring her pregnancy to an end with the support of her own doctor at home in Ireland.

Further reading on this topic

I am now a 41 year old mother of two. In 1992, aged 15, I became pregnant. I was in such a state of shock and panic that I didn’t want to tell my parents as I knew they would be so hurt and disappointment with me. I was in 5th year in school and we wore little tiny gold foetus feet on our uniform in our convent school. I felt I had nowhere to turn.

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