Why a restricted period of up to twelve weeks?

The Government is proposing a restricted period of up to 12 weeks when a woman who needs abortion care can access it. This legislation could be implemented following a successful referendum.

Early pregnancy is the period when a woman realises that she is pregnant. She is thinking about her life and her family. She is making decisions while considering everyone’s welfare and well-being. The first twelve weeks of pregnancy is the time when most miscarriages occur. For women who decide to end their pregnancies almost all abortions happen during this period.Women who are continuing their pregnancy generally wait until the 12 week mark before sharing the news with their family and friends.

If we vote Yes, we will be able to make new laws that will allow a woman to have an abortion during early pregnancy. Each woman has her own reasons for needing an abortion but she will not have to disclose the reason. She will make her decision with the advice of her doctor. Like all healthcare provision, abortion care within the first twelve weeks will be highly regulated. Ethical guidelines for health professionals will apply.

Two of the important considerations for a twelve week limit are the use of abortion pills and access to abortion for pregnancy resulting from rape.

Unregulated abortion pills

Currently women in Ireland are ordering abortion pills over the Internet. These abortions are completely unregulated and there is no medical support available. Women who take the abortion pill are breaking the law and could face a prison sentence of up to 14 years. The restricted period of twelve weeks will allow women to access abortion care within a properly regulated public healthcare system. Women will benefit from the advice and continuing care of their doctor. They will no longer be criminalised.

Pregnancy resulting from rape

There is strong public support to allow access to abortion care for women who have become pregnant as a result of rape if that is what they decide. However, it is unethical and legally unworkable to force a rape victim to disclose the fact that she has been raped. Allowing a woman who has been raped up to twelve weeks in order to access an abortion will provide her with the time and support she needs.

Removing the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution will mean we can allow a woman to have an abortion here in Ireland as part of our regulated healthcare services. The 12 week limit in early pregnancy will allow for a meaningful and compassionate period of time during which a woman can realise that she is pregnant, consider her options and have the care she needs without having to make a rushed decision.


Further reading on this topic

My name is Caoimhe. I still have no idea how it happened; I was always the responsible one, the organised one, the one who would never have a crisis pregnancy. I had been on the pill since I was a teenager and my boyfriend & I always used condoms… just incase. When the condom broke, I wasn’t worried, because that’s why we always used two forms of contraception. Yet, there I was looking at 4 positive pregnancy tests.

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