Abortion information – the legal position

Information concerning abortion in other countries can be provided in Ireland, subject to certain rules under law. The law in question is the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for Termination of Pregnancies) Act of 1995.

Information about abortion can be provided by doctors, by certain agencies and by counsellors.

Information is defined as knowledge likely to be required by a woman for the purpose of availing herself of services provided outside the State for the termination of pregnancies. In effect this means that the names and addresses of abortion services can be provided. However, doctors can not make an appointment with an abortion service on behalf of a pregnant woman. The doctor can hand over the woman’s medical records.

Abortion is not legal in Ireland except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including a risk arising from a threat of suicide (the so-called X Case). However, under Medical Council guidelines to doctors, while termination can occur where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother this does not include a threat of suicide.

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Objective and truthful information

General information that is provided on abortion must be truthful and objective and must not advocate or promote abortion. The information provided in books, meetings or the media must relate to services which are lawful in another country.

Doctors or other professionals are not obliged to give information on abortion. Where information or counselling services are provided, the information must:

* not advocate or promote abortion but it can include anti-abortion advocacy

* information, advice and counselling on all options must be provided

* any person or agency giving abortion information can not have a financial interest in an abortion service in another country

For more information see the Crisis Pregnancy Agency information site at…

http://www.positiveoptions.ie/