Irish lower house passes abortion bill

Ireland moved closer to making abortion services ready by the beginning of January after the Regulation of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill passed parliaments lower house Wednesday.

The bill, which would allow women to have free abortions in their first 12 weeks of pregnancy, passed by 90 votes to 15 with 12 abstentions in the Dáil. The new law would also permit abortion later in the pregnancy if a woman risks serious harm or if the foetus is likely to die.

An amendment that would have forced women to notify their parents if they wanted a termination, put forward by anti-abortion politicians, was voted down, according to the Independent.

One of the more contentious debates over the bill is over the requirement that doctors who object to providing abortions must refer patients to another doctor who will perform them. A proposed amendment against this requirement was defeated in a vote of 75 votes to 30, according to the Irish Times.

The bill now goes to the senate for approval, before returning to the Dáil.

In May, 66.4 percent of voters backed repealing Irelands abortion ban in a national referendum.

“On May 25th, the people said No More,'” Irish Health Minister Simon Harris said in a press release Thursday. “We cannot turn back the clock but what we can do is ensure a new era for Irish women.”

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