Bill to legalise abortion in Ireland passes through final stage in Oireachtas
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Bill to legalise abortion in Ireland passes through final stage in Oireachtas

THE BILL to legalise abortion in Ireland has passed through all stages of the Oireachtas.

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill will now go to President Michael D Higgins to be signed into law, with abortion being legal from January 1, 2019.

The report and final stages of the Bill passed in the Seanad tonight following a nine-hour debate.

The Bill was introduced in October following May’s historic referendum in which 66.4 per cent of voters backed a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

'Historic'

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“This is a genuinely historic moment,” Minister for Health Simon Harris told the Irish Times.

“It paves the way for the implementation of the service for termination of pregnancy in January 2019.

“The passage of the legislation allows for the beginning of a new journey. It is the start of a new era for women’s healthcare.”

Once signed into law by the President, unrestricted abortion will be permitted up to 12 weeks.

Beyond that time, abortions can be performed if a foetal abnormality is diagnosed or if there is a risk to the mother’s life.

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Independent Senator Rónán Mullen, an opponent of the Bill, tweeted to say it had been a tragic day, adding ‘lives will be lost’.

“It could be said that Ireland hasn’t so much caught up with the world but lost its lead,” he told the Seanad,“and the rest of the world has caught up with us in terms of this very sad and despairing way of dealing with a human dilemma.”

Meanwhile the Pro Life Campaign tweeted to say its fight for the rights of the unborn child would continue despite the Bill’s passage.

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