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Liberalised abortion services to be made available in Ireland by January

Ireland voted overwhelmingly to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

HEALTH MINISTER SIMON Harris will bring legislation to Cabinet today which will provide for the regulation of abortions in Ireland following the passing of the referendum in May.

Government sources have said that Harris will outline a number of issues he wants to clarify in the law. They include making sure terminations can be provided to all women who need one and that cost cannot be a barrier to accessing these services.

Another aspect of the legislation is the establishment of so-called safe zones. These are areas around premises where abortion services are provided where patients and staff can go without fear of intimidation or harassment, and without being subjected to posters or protests.

Despite bringing this legislation to Cabinet, it can not be enacted until two applications to block the result of the referendum are dealt with in the courts.

It is the Government’s intention to make this health service available in Ireland in January 2019.

The country voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the amendment from the Constitution, paving the way for the legalisation of abortion in some circumstances.

Last month, the fourth annual report on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act showed that last year 15 legal terminations were carried out in Ireland.

A total of eight were carried out due to a real risk from a physical illness; five were carried out due to an emergency from a physical illness; and two were carried out due to the risk of suicide.

This is a drop from 25 legally-permitted abortions being carried out last year.

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