06/12/2018

Landmark Abortion Bill Passes In Dáil

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which will allow the full introduction of abortion services, passed all stages in the Dáil on Wednesday 05 December in a late night vote.

It will now proceed to the Seanad.

TDs voted in favour of the abortion legislation by 90 votes to 15, with 12 abstentions.

The midnight vote followed hours of debate and more than 60 amendments.

Minister for Health Simon Harris hailed the development as a "significant step forward" in preparing for the introduction of termination of pregnancy services early next year.

He 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."

Mr Harris said the legislation will provide an assurance for all doctors, nurses and midwives that they can confidently help their patients to make decisions, and provide the care they require.

"I think of all the woman who have had to travel to receive care- we say, no more," he added in a post on Twitter.

"The people have spoken. Care and compassion in our own country."

It follows Ireland's decisive vote in May 2018 to change the Constitution and repeal the Eighth Amendment, with 66.4% voting in favour of allowing the termination of pregnancies.

Since the bill was first introduced in October, there have been some minor changes, including a decision to review the legislation after three years rather than five, as originally planned.

Two different doctors will be permitted to assess a woman in early pregnancy, and the offences section has been removed from the bill.

An extra hour was sought for Wednesday's debate in the Dáil, despite over seven hours being allocated to the issue.

The bill passed it's fifth and final stage and will now be subject to Seanad deliberation, scheduled to begin this afternoon, Thursday 06 December.



(JG)

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