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  • Irish women celebrate May referendum.

    Irish women celebrate May referendum. | Photo: Efe

Published 14 December 2018

If Ireland’s president signs the bill into law, women will enjoy the right to abortion since January 2019.

Seven months after the historic referendum in which 66 percent of Irish men and women voted to amend the country’s constitutional ban on abortions, the parliament has approved a bill legalizing abortion.

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Health Minister Simon Harris, who steered the bill through both houses of the Irish parliament, celebrated the decision, calling it a “vote to end lonely journeys, end the stigma and support women's choices in our own country," via Twitter.

With the bill, abortion would become legal with no conditionalities within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After that period, women would be able to access abortions in cases of grave risk to life and health or where there is a diagnosis of a fatal fetal abnormality.

The bill, approved with 27 votes in favor and five against, only requires medical consultation and a waiting period to confirm their decision.  

President Michael Higgins is expected to sign the bill into law, for it to go into effect in January.

“Just over 200 days ago, you, the people of Ireland voted to repeal the 8th so we could care for women with compassion. Today we have passed the law to make this a reality,” Harris said.

The referendum and the bill represent political and cultural victories in a country with a strong Catholic tradition.  

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council, celebrated the vote.

“In a year of historic days, today is another important one for women and girls in Ireland. After decades of campaigning from women’s organizations, after hundreds of thousands of women traveling to access healthcare services, and six months after a landslide yes vote, we now have legislation to provide abortion healthcare services.”

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