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Before having an abortion

You need to attend a pre-abortion consultation before having an abortion.

This is to make sure that having an abortion is the right choice for you.

A doctor will tell you what an abortion involves. They will also check that your pregnancy is no more than 12 weeks. This is the law.

Find out under what circumstances you can have an abortion after 12 weeks.

Where you have your pre-abortion consultation is up to you. You can have your consultation in either a:

  • GP surgery that provides abortion services
  • family planning clinic that provides abortion services
  • women's health clinic that provides abortion services

Pre-abortion consultation

You will need to bring a document or card with your PPS number or a scheme card number for one of the following:

  • Drugs Payment Scheme
  • Long-Term Illness Scheme
  • Medical Card Scheme
  • GP Visit Scheme

Your doctor needs this information so that the HSE can pay them for the service provided. All your details and treatment will remain confidential.

During your consultation, you will:

  • have a pregnancy test to confirm you're pregnant
  • be certified that your pregnancy will be no more than 12 weeks at the time of the abortion — you might be referred for an ultrasound scan to check how many weeks pregnant you are
  • be asked about why you want an abortion and whether you're sure about your decision
  • be offered the chance to talk things over with a counsellor
  • talk to a health professional about the abortion methods available
  • be told about any risks and complications
  • be offered contraceptive advice and a prescription if requested
  • be given information and advice on sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • have a blood test to find out your blood type if over 7 weeks pregnant
  • be given a waiting period of at least 3 days before the abortion

You can attend all your abortion appointments on your own or with a friend or family member.

If someone comes with you to your appointment, you will have the chance to talk to the GP or doctor in private. This is so you can provide information confidentially. This also allows the GP or doctor to confirm that the decision you are making is yours.

Your GP or doctor will give you a date for the abortion.

The abortion will be at least 3 days after your pre-abortion consultation. For example, if you are seen on a Monday, the earliest you can have an abortion is on Thursday. This is the law.

You can change your mind at any point up to the start of the abortion.

Before you have an abortion, you will be asked to sign a consent form.

If you cannot sign the form, you can give your consent verbally or you can make a mark on the form in front of a GP or doctor.

This is to confirm that you:

  • have been told about the different abortion methods
  • know the possible side effects and risk of complications
  • understand this information
  • have checked that your contact details are correct — this is so we can contact you about your test results or changes to your appointment

Medical abortion consent form (PDF, 1.52mb)

Surgical abortion consent form (PDF, 1.52mb)

Rhesus negative blood type

If your blood type is rhesus negative, you will have to get an an anti-D injection in a hospital. An anti-D injection prevents possible harm to any pregnancy you may have in the future.

You only need to get it if you're more than 7 weeks pregnant.

Your blood type will be checked at your pre-abortion consultation.

Under 7 weeks pregnant

If you are under 7 weeks pregnant, you won't need to get the injection.

7 to 9 weeks pregnant

If you are between 7 and 9 weeks pregnant, have rhesus negative blood type and are having a medical abortion by a GP, family planning clinic or women's health clinic, you will need to go to hospital to get an anti-D injection.

It is up to you to make sure you go to hospital to get this injection. Your doctor will arrange a time for you, usually after you have taken the first tablet as part of the medical abortion method.

You will usually begin to bleed after taking the second medication (misoprostol). At the latest, you need to get the injection within 72 hours of bleeding beginning.

9 to 12 weeks pregnant

If you're having a surgical abortion, you will get the injection in the hospital.

If you are having a medical abortion in hospital, you will get the injection there.

Page last reviewed: 18/12/2018
Next review due: 18/12/2021

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