Abortion Bill Successfully Passes Through Oireachtas

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill passed through the Seanad last night.

Campaigners celebrate the vote.

The bill that would legislate for the introduction of abortion services in Ireland has successfully been passed by the houses of the Oireachtas. The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill will need to be signed by President Michael D. Higgins in order to be written into law.

Senator Catherine Noone spoke about the passing of the legislation:

“It’s been an intense and sometimes very difficult and emotional year and a half since this process first began in the Oireachtas.

“Predominantly, my thoughts are with Savita and all of the women who have had to travel in times when our laws abandoned women in this country.

“And I’m happy to know that our laws are now more caring to women and that we live in such a beautiful democracy that listened to the stories of women and all of the evidence that was given by experts in the area especially doctors. Thankfully our decades-old English solution to an Irish problem will come to an end once our president signs this bill.”

Senator Noone also thanked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Health Simon Harris and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who initially introduced the Citizens’ Assembly.

Simon Harris welcomed the passing of the bill through all stages of the Oireachtas, calling it a “genuinely historic moment”, thanking the campaigners, many of whom had been involved for over 35 years. Moreover, Harris outlined the terms of the bill:

“The legislation permits terminations to be carried out up to 12 weeks of pregnancy; or where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health of the pregnant woman; or where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman in an emergency; or where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus wither before or within 28 days of birth.”

Senator Rónán Mullen, who vocally opposed the repeal of the Eighth Amendment lamented the passing of the bill:

“It could be said that Ireland hasn’t so much caught up with the rest of the world but lost its lead and the rest of the world has caught up with us in terms of this very sad and despairing way of dealing with a human dilemma.”

Additionally, Mullen paid tribute to the “visionary people”, who saw the introduction of the Eighth Amendment in 1983.

The Taoiseach tweeted his support of the passing of the bill, and acknowledged the work of Simon Harris:

“Historic moment for Irish women. Thanks to all who supported and well done to @SimonHarrisTD for steering this through both houses.”

The bill is expected to reach the President for signing shortly.

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