Select Page

Thousands of women in Ireland had their babies instead of abortion after three-day waiting period

A review of Ireland’s abortion law is expected to recommend the abolition of the three-day waiting period between an initial consultation and an abortion despite the fact that thousands of  women had their babies instead of an abortion after the three-day waiting period.

When abortion was made legal in Ireland in 2019, it included a three-day waiting period between an initial consultation with a doctor and the carrying out of an abortion. The legislation also stipulated that there be a review of the law after three years.

The review began in December 2022, the results of which have not been released yet. However, media reports indicate that the review conducted by the Department of Health in Ireland will recommend the three-day waiting period be abolished. This is despite the fact that, according to the Health Service Executive, 3,951 women did not return for a second consultation after the three-day waiting period had passed.

Thousands of women decided to have their babies instead of an abortion

Eilís Mulroy, campaign manager of the Pro Life Campaign, said “Not all of these cases will have been because women changed their minds, but clearly it can be inferred that thousands of these women decided to proceed with their pregnancies”.

“[E]vidence from the first three years of the abortion law shows that the waiting period helps many women to get past any initial sense of panic, giving a window of time during which they can seek support services or help from family and friends”.

Campaigners have voiced concern about the impartiality of the review of the abortion law which has not been subject to parliamentary or public scrutiny. Mulroy says that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly “has outsourced the handling of the review to handpicked academics, many of whom have a public history of pro-abortion campaigning. This is completely at odds with the idea of a fair and independent process”.

State funding for abortion referral service

Earlier this year, the Pro Life Campaign discovered that the state-run health service in Ireland has been spending taxpayer money on advertising its abortion referral service and paying Google to ensure that its own abortion-referral services outperform other pro-life pregnancy services that focus on offering alternatives to abortion.

In recent replies to Parliamentary Questions reported by Irish pro-life organisation the Pro Life Campaign, it has been admitted that, since the practice was made legal in Ireland in 2018, almost €1 million has been spent by the Health Service Executive (HSE) – Ireland’s publicly funded healthcare system – on advertising their abortion-referral service.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “The evidence shows that thousands of women chose to proceed with having their baby rather than going ahead with an abortion following the three-day waiting period. This gives women a time of reflection, along with time to get support from pregnancy support services or family. The three-day waiting period should stay.”

Dear reader,

MPs will shortly vote on proposed changes to the law, brought forward by Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Diana Johnson, that would introduce the biggest change to our abortion laws since the Abortion Act was introduced in 1967.

These proposed changes to the law would make it more likely that healthy babies are aborted at home for any reason, including sex-selective purposes, up to birth.

Polling undertaken by ComRes, shows that only 1% of women support introducing abortion up to birth and that 91% of women agree that sex-selective abortion should be explicitly banned by the law.

Please click the button below to contact your MP now and ask them to vote no to these extreme changes to our law. It only takes 30 seconds using our easy-to-use tool.