Following hours of debate, the Dáil has passed the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which will allow for the introduction of abortion services in Ireland.
TD’s debated the legislation late into Wednesday night; finally voting in favour of the abortion legislation by 90 votes to 15. There were 12 TDs who declined to vote.
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What happens next?
The passing of this legislation, which happened at midnight, means Ireland is on-track to have legal abortion services by January 2019.
The new law will legalise access to abortion up to 12 weeks’ gestation; after which, terminations will only be legal in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, or where there is a risk to the life (or serious harm to the health) of the mother.
Now that the Bill has been passed by the Dáil, it must now pass through the Seanad. It’s believed members of the Seanad will begin its review this afternoon, with the aim to have the Bill passed before Christmas.
Care and compassion in our own country
Minister for health, Simon Harris said, “I look forward to a time – not far away now – when we will be able to assure women experiencing crisis pregnancies that they will be looked after here at home; where they need not fear that they will be stigmatised for their choices or lack the support they and their families need from our health service.
Tonight Dáil Éireann has passed legislation to legalise abortion in Ireland. On to the Seanad now. I think of all the women who have had to travel to receive care – we say, no more. The people have spoken. Care and compassion in our own country
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) December 6, 2018
“I also look forward to being able to assure our doctors, nurses and midwives that they can be confident in the decisions they are helping their patients to make, and in providing the care their patients require.”
He later added on Twitter, “Tonight Dáil Éireann has passed legislation to legalise abortion in Ireland. On to the Seanad now. I think of all the women who have had to travel to receive care – we say, no more. The people have spoken. Care and compassion in our own country.”
Photo: Dáil Éireann, video archives