Reflection Period

Updated Scheme of the Health Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018

Head 7 - Early Pregnancy

7. (1) A termination of pregnancy may be carried out in accordance with this Head where a medical practitioner certifies that in his or her reasonable opinion formed in good faith, the pregnancy concerned has not exceeded 12 weeks of pregnancy.

(2) A termination of pregnancy shall not be carried out in accordance with this Head unless a period of not less than 3 days has elapsed from the date of certification referred to in subhead (1).

For more information please read the Updated Scheme of the Health Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018.

In the weeks leading up to the Referendum, the government frequently mentioned the presence of a 72 hour “cooling off period” in the new abortion legislation. In the proposed Bill, however, a “cooling off” period is never mentioned explicitly. It merely states that 3 days must pass between the certification from the GP and the abortion itself, without clarification as to whether this means 3 business days or simply any 3 consecutive days. That’s it. No scan. No help offered. No suggestion for reflection.

There is no mention of what happens during the 3 days. There is no guarantee that women will receive information about alternatives and support services.

We have launched a campaign around this 3 day window called “Second Chance”’. We believe that every support should be made available to women to help them bring their pregnancy to term. This campaign aims to push politicians to follow up on their promises of a 72 hour ‘’cooling off’’ period. We want any pregnant woman considering an abortion to be given all relevant information about the free assistance and resources available to her during her pregnancy as well as afterwards.

Our campaign involves the promotion of a leaflet in all GP clinics across the country, which outlines the supports that are available to pregnant women in Ireland. We also have a letter that you can fill in to lobby your local TD, to make this information led reflection period part of the ‘Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Bill’.

We demand from politicians that each woman who is considering having an abortion has access to; special social welfare assistance if abortion is on economic grounds, legal aid if the abortion is driven by a legal issue, caring organisations that can provide financial/mentoring assistance, medical care if there is a medical issue driving the abortion, an optional free ultrasound, a mediator appointed to help rearrange exams and grants if there is an issue with the pregnancy disrupting their education and, if there is pressure from a partner, access to a Garda liaison officer.

We also have a leaflet that we would like to make accessible in every GP clinic. This leaflet goes through positive alternatives to abortion and all the various support services available for pregnant women.


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