Republic of Ireland news

Abortion law due to be passed by end of the year

Health minister Simon Harris said it will take until the end of the year to implement new legislation after the abortion referendum because he is determined to "get it right" PICTURE: Niall Carson/PA
Thomas Hornall

LEO Varadkar's Cabinet will meet later to sign off the next steps in abortion reform.

Health minister Simon Harris is due to bring a memo outlining plans to fellow ministers, with laws expected to be passed by the end of the year.

Ireland voted to reform its strict abortion laws in Friday's referendum by a two-to-one margin.

The question on the ballot asked citizens to either retain or repeal the Eighth Amendment of the state's constitution, which prohibits terminations unless a mother's life is in danger.

The leader of the Opposition, Michéal Martin, has said his No-supporting Fianna Fáil parliamentarians will not block the change.

Those who campaigned against the measure have said they respect the democratic decision.

The law will be subject to debate inside and outside the Dáil and is likely to see renewed emphasis on crisis pregnancy prevention and care.

Ministers have promised to allow terminations within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy subject to medical advice and a cooling-off period, and between 12 and 24 weeks in exceptional circumstances.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the results represented "the culmination of a quiet revolution" taking place in Ireland for the past 10 to 20 years.

On Monday, pro-choice activists turned their eyes to Northern Ireland, where abortion is still largely banned, vowing to hit it like a "seismic wave".

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