Here you will find the answers to your questions on abortion:
I’m pregnant and considering abortion, can the IFPA help?
The IFPA is a pro-choice organisation. This means we provide information for women who are considering her options on abortion, parenting and adoption. We provide a safe and completely confidential space for anyone who needs it to explore their feelings around their crisis pregnancy and the options they feel are open to them including abortion.
Should you request it IFPA counsellors will provide you with information on abortion services in countries where abortion is legal. Your counsellor will give you all the information you require and explain the procedures involved if your choice is to have an abortion.
Abortion is currently unlawful in Ireland and therefore unavailable (this includes Northern Ireland). This means that women living in Ireland must travel to a country where abortion is legal. Women have the option of travelling to the UK or other EU countries to access abortion services.
Remember you do not break any Irish law by traveling for an abortion or by having an abortion in a country where it is legal.
What is an abortion?
Abortion is the termination (ending) of pregnancy before birth. It can occur naturally – what we normally refer to as a miscarriage or through medical or surgical intervention – most commonly referred to as abortion.
There are different abortion procedures and the method used depends on the gestation (weeks) of your pregnancy. An abortion service should ideally be able to offer you a choice of abortion methods, although this may not always be possible.
– Medical abortion
– Surgical abortion
How early or late in a pregnancy can an abortion take place?
This depends on the laws in the country you travel to and the counsellor will be able to discuss this with you. Most Irish women travel to the UK or the Netherlands where abortion is available from 5 weeks up to 24 weeks of gestation.
How much does an abortion cost?
The cost of an abortion varies in each country and depending on the procedure carried out. An abortion can cost anything from €600 to €2000.
Is there a financial grant I can access to pay for the abortion?
Do I need to have a scan to have an abortion?
This will depend on if you are considering a medical or a surgical abortion and if you are sure of the dates of the first day of your last menstrual period. Your counsellor will discuss this in detail with you.
What can I expect if I choose to have an abortion?
The type of procedure depends on the pregnancy gestation (length of pregnancy). Your counsellor will discuss this with you.
I’ve heard about a pill you can take to have an abortion – what is this?
In the first trimester of pregnancy (up to nine weeks gestation) women can take a combination of drugs to induce a miscarriage.
To avail of this method a woman needs to be very sure of her pregnancy dates and needs to travel and stay in accomodation close to the clinic she is attending overnight (the length of stay varies, as it depends on the clinics individual medical prodedures)
Can my doctor give me information on abortion?
Yes many doctors are willing to do so and have the relevant information available.
Your GP may refuse to give you abortion information on religious/moral grounds. This refusal to provide care is also known as conscientious objection. If this happens your GP is obliged to refer you to someone who can help you with your query.
Please note that not all counselling agencies give information on abortion services so if this is what you want specify on making the appointment, or call our helpline on 1850 495051.
Can I arrange an abortion myself?
Yes. Many women do self-refer getting contact details from a friend or the internet.
Some clinics will ask that you speak to a counsellor in Ireland before you travel.
The IFPA will provide you with all the contact details for a legal abortion provider when you attend a pregnancy counselling session.
I will need a visa to travel can the IFPA help?
Your counsellor will help you with all the information you need to get a visa to travel and help you in whichever way she can.
Will the IFPA counsellor show me graphic videos or pictures to try to stop me from having an abortion?
Absolutely not. The IFPA pregnancy counselling service is against this and other practices which seek to intimidate women from making the choice which is right for them. Be aware that there are ‘rogue agencies’ that do employ these tactics.
No one should be pushing you to make a particular decision. If you are uncomfortable, you most definitely have the right to walk away and seek support and information somewhere else.
I’ve had an abortion and want to talk to a counsellor about it, can the IFPA help?
Yes. The IFPA’s professional and confidential counselling service is available for women after an abortion.
This service is free, and remains open to you. You do not have to have attended the IFPA counselling service before your abortion.
A free post abortion medical check up can also be arranged through our counsellors. This is recommended two weeks after your abortion and is to make sure you have recovered both physically and emotionally after the procedure and are not worried about anything.
I have heard that there are ‘abortion pills’ you can buy online, would the IFPA recommend this?
No. The IFPA does not recommend that you access medication over the internet. Buying medication on line is not an advisable medical practice and it is safest and preferable for women to use medical abortion pills with the support and back-up of a medical and nursing team.
It is currently illegal to take the “abortion pill” in Ireland. However if women do use the abortion pills on their own the IFPA urges them to seek medical help if:
They think they are still pregnant several days after using the drugs,
They experience any complications,
If you’re concerned by the amount of blood loss brought on by the drugs, if it is abnormally heavy or if it persists without abating for longer than 4-5 days.
I had an abortion 2 weeks ago and was told to go for a medical check up. Does the IFPA provide this service?
Yes the IFPA offers free post abortion medical check ups at both our Cathal Brugha Street and Tallaght clinics. This service is available regardless of whether you have attended IFPA medical or counselling services in the past.
How much will the appointment cost?
A full list of IFPA service charges is available from our clinics. Please feel free to ask the receptionist when planning your visit. Many of our services are available free of charge if you have a valid medical card. We also offer a student reduction on most services.
Smear examinations are now free in our clinics under the new national cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck.
Pregnancy Counselling and Post abortion medical check-ups are free to all.
Is there a centre near to me?
The IFPA’s clinics are based in Dublin City Centre and in the Square Shopping Centre in Tallaght and no matter where you live you are welcome to attend these services.
There are also Family Planning Clinics which are self run but provide most of the services the IFPA run, please see below for details.
Do I have to make an appointment?
Ideally yes. Making an appointment ensures that our staff will have time to see you and that you will not have to wait too long. However you do not have to make an appointment for pregnancy testing and on Sunday we offer a ‘walk-in’ service for emergency contraception.
How long does an appointment last?
This depends entirely on what service you wish, feel free to ask the receptionists when making your appointment.
I don’t know anything about contraception, can you help?
On making an appointment our fully qualified medical staff will be able to answer your queries in person and help you find a method of contraception that suits you. Should you wish to research the individual methods of contraception
Will anyone know about my visit to the IFPA?
The IFPA’s service is completely confidential only the staff member who takes your appointment and your doctor will know about your visit and your information will not be made available to anyone else.
Can I bring a family member or partner with me?
Yes. A client is always given the opportunity to speak to the doctor on his/her own or with a partner/ family member, whichever the client prefers.
Do I have to come with my parent if I am under 17 years of age?
No. You can make an appointment with the service without telling your parents. Your doctor will encourage you to involve your parents or carers, or another supportive adult.
All information, advice and services are confidential. However, health professionals will involve social services if they suspect you, or another person, are at significant risk of sexual abuse or emotional or physical harm. They will not do this without talking to you about this first.
If you are under the age of 16, which is the age of consent for medical procedures, you may need the permission of a parent or guardian to receive certain types of contraception the doctor will be able to discuss this with you at your appointment.
Is there an interpretation service available for those with poor or no English?
If we know in advance we will do everything we can to provide an interpreter.
I have a disability can the IFPA accommodate me?
Yes if we know someone’s special needs in advance we will do everything possible to accommodate these.
I live outside of Dublin do you have contacts for any other family planning centres?
Independent Family Planning Centres:
Cork Family Planning Centre, 23 Tuckey Street, Grand Parade, Cork. Tel: 021 4277 906
Galway Family Planning Centre, Lismoyle House, Augustine Street, Galway. Tel: 091 562 992
Women’s Health Clinic, 38 Oak Park, Gortboy, Newcastlewest Co. Limerick. Tel: 069 62933
Limerick Family Planning Centre, 27 Mallow Street, Limerick. Tel: 061 312 026
Tralee Family Planning, 29 Ashe Street, Tralee. Tel: 066 712 5322
You can also check your phone book or the golden pages for local services.
Please note that a local GP service may also offer the service you require as part of their broader service. However many GPs do not offer all forms of family planning and sexual health services, so be sure to ask what services they have when booking an appointment.
In case you have some more questions please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org