Women to get abortion pills direct from GPs
Women who have a medical abortion can be dispensed medication by their GP or hospital doctor.
It will mean that women who avail of abortion, when the law extending the grounds for termination is in force, will not have to fill a prescription in a pharmacy.
This will help to preserve their privacy and avert the need to have to produce a prescription script in public.
A medical abortion involves taking two medications, usually 24 to 48 hours apart, to induce a miscarriage.
It does not require surgery or an anaesthetic.
The first medicine administered is mifepristone, which helps to stop the hormone that allows the pregnancy to continue working. The second medicine is called misoprostol. Within four to six hours, the lining of the womb breaks down, causing bleeding and loss of the pregnancy.
Medical abortions after nine weeks will be carried out in a maternity hospital.
Retired obstetrician Peter Boylan has been appointed to oversee the clinical guidelines which are necessary for doctors to ensure that proper uniform and safe protocols are in place.
It may be necessary to go to the private sector to secure an ultrasound scan for some pregnant women in order to date the pregnancy. This will be paid for by the State which is to provide abortions free of charge. Some consultants are currently undergoing training in terminations.