Following our coverage of Ireland’s decision to appeal the amendment that bans abortion, Ireland’s health minister Simon Harris confirmed that the new services in place will be completely free. The public statement comes less than 24 hours after President Michael Higgins signed the new referendum into law. Doing so removed the 8th amendment from the constitution.
Harris spoke to reports at the primary care center in Dublin, Grangegorman. He stated that while abortion services are planned to be provided in the future, ensuring that cost is not a barrier is essential for individual’s to gain the medical help they need. Harris was specifically asked if there would be any charges to receive abortions when the motion is passed in the first week of October to which he confirmed that there wouldn’t be any.
The main reasoning behind the zero fee service is to discourage private abortion clinics from entering Ireland. Many women were leaving the country before to access medical help and making the services free encourages them to stay and carry out their procedures in a safe and cost affordable environment.
Harris also confirmed that after President Higgins has signed the repeal to the 8th amendment that planned law changes will be coming in the future to allow abortion services at earlier time periods. Currently women who are under 12 weeks pregnant are not allowed to have an abortion and the proposed changes that will be put forward will look to address that.
The health minister expects the proposed changes to be accepted immediately and be fully put into effect across the country by the end of the year.