Before having an abortion

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

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

You can have this consultation over the phone or by video link. This is a temporary change during the coronavirus outbreak. If the doctor needs to see you in person, they will tell you.

They 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

Who you have your pre-abortion consultation with is up to you.

You can have your consultation by phone or video link with 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

Your doctor will need your PPS number. You will need to tell them it or show them a document or card with your PPS number on it.

You can also show or tell them your 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:

  • 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

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.

Giving your consent

Before you have an abortion, you will be asked to give your consent to the 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

You'll give consent verbally if you are under 9 weeks pregnant. But if you are attending a hospital for your abortion, you'll be asked to sign a consent form.

Medical abortion consent form (PDF, 1 page, 1.52MB)

Surgical abortion consent form (PDF, 1 page, 1.52MB)

Rhesus negative blood type

If your blood type is rhesus negative, you will have to get 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 9 weeks pregnant.

Under 9 weeks pregnant

If you are under 9 weeks pregnant, you won't need to get the injection.

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 December 2018
Next review due: 18 December 2021