Irish parliament passes bill to legalize abortion | News | DW | 14.12.2018
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Irish parliament passes bill to legalize abortion

Following a landmark referendum earlier this year, abortions will be allowed in Ireland for the first time. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar described the passing of the bill as a 'historic moment for Irish women.'

The Irish parliament on Thursday passed legislation allowing abortions for the first time.

The new legislation allows terminations to be carried out up to 12 weeks of pregnancy or in conditions where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant person.

Read more: Ireland's abortion referendum: What you need to know

The bill will also allow terminations in cases of foetal abnormality which could lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth.

Ireland voted in a referendum in May to overturn the ban on abortions, with 66.4 percent of people voting in favor of the new legislation.

'Historic moment'

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar tweeted that the move was a "historic moment for Irish women."

"Just over 200 days ago, you, the people of Ireland, voted to repeal the 8th so we could care for women with compassion," Health Minister Simon Harris said on Twitter.

"Today we have passed the law to make this a reality. A vote to end lonely journeys, end the stigma and support women's choices in our own country," he wrote.

Some 170,000 Irish women have been forced to travel to neighboring Britain for abortions since 1980. While Ireland is a predominantly Catholic country, the influence of the Church has lessened in recent years.

Read more: Ireland split on 'once-in-a-generation' abortion vote

The final step in the legislative process is the ceremonial signing of the bill into law by President Michael D. Higgins.

The Irish health service is now being prepared to provide the first abortions to women in January 2019.

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