Just a few months after ending pregnancies were legalized in Ireland with a historic vote, the health minister in the country said that a new legislation will make the procedure free for all women.
The May 2018 referendum was one of the most charged votes in the country’s history, and the landslide victory for legalization was a prime example of just how liberal voters are making their mark on legislation in the traditionally conservative country with huge Catholic Church influence.
The referendum bill was signed on September 18, 2018, by President Michael Higgins, and removed the controversial Eighth Amendment from the law.
Health Minister Simon Harris told reporters back then that it was a historic day, and when asked how the country would handle medical expenses for the endings of pregnancies, he said that it’s his intention that the services will be free.
Thousands of women used to travel to the U.K. when the 19th century Eighth Amendment law remained in force, and many used to order the pills to terminate a pregnancy online.
Ending a pregnancy is allowed in England, Wales, and Scotland at up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and the procedure is allowed later in certain cases (for example, if the woman’s life is in danger, or the child would be born with disabilities).
The tight restrictions remain in Northern Ireland, however, because the country is considered more socially conservative than the rest of the U.K.