The Republic of Ireland has one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, allowing abortion only to preserve a pregnant woman’s life. The researchers examined the law’s impact on women’s options for accessing abortion, their decision-making regarding which pathway to follow, and their experiences with their chosen approach. It was a qualitative study conducted through the use of a questionnaire.

The researchers conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with 38 women who had traveled abroad to access abortion in a clinic or had self-managed a medical abortion at home using online telemedicine. According to an iteratively developed coding guide, we coded interview transcripts and performed a thematic analysis to identify key themes.

The study concluded that despite the country’s restrictive abortion law, women in Ireland obtain abortions using legal and safe methods elsewhere. However, the law negatively impacts women’s ability to discuss their options with their healthcare professionals and seek follow-up care. It can have severe implications for their physical and emotional health. This study’s findings provide evidence to inform public and policy discourse on Ireland’s abortion laws.