Police are investigating after what appeared to be a human foetus was discovered in a dustbin in west Dublin.
It was found in a bin on a housing estate in Clondalkin and tests are now under way to determine if the remains are human.
A senior police source told the Irish Independent: "We simply do not know whether the remains are human or not. It will be known before the day is out."
Abortion in Ireland is illegal unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. The decision to carry out an abortion must be agreed on by two doctors.
In November, a report into the abortion laws in Ireland found there was a gap between theory and implementation of the right to lawful abortion.
The report said that legislative change would be the most effective way of giving women lawful access to terminations.
It followed the death of Savita Halappanavar, who was refused an abortion despite being in severe pain because of the pregnancy.
She was told her baby would not survive but doctors would not abort the foetus until its heart stopped beating. Halappanavar died from septicaemia on 28 October.
Following her death, there was public outcry, with many saying women should have better access to abortions in Ireland. Hundreds of Irish women travel to the UK every year to undertake the procedure.
In January, 25,000 people attended an anti-abortion rally in Dublin opposing the Irish government's plans to allow abortion in certain cases.
In Northern Ireland, where it is also illegal to have an abortion unless the mother's life is at risk, draft abortion guidelines are due to be published this week.