Abortion Access in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: International Influence and Changing Laws?
Journal IssueVolume 24, 2017
Access to abortion services in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is extremely restricted. Women have few options beyond traveling abroad and paying out of pocket to undergo an abortion. In the United Kingdom, abortion is legal up to 24 weeks and is largely free of cost under the National Health Service. While Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, laws legalizing abortion do not apply, and abortion law has not changed since 1861. In 1983, the Republic of Ireland passed an amendment to its constitution equating the life of a mother with the life of an unborn fetus. Since then, several high-profile court cases were brought to the European Court of Human Rights, which has slowly expanded abortion access in the country.