Ireland's health minister says new abortion services in country are 'momentous'

Ireland Abortion Laws

Abortion supporters celebrate as results of Irish referendum are revealed. Image: Getty

Monday, December 31, 2018

Ireland's health minister has said the introduction of new abortion services in the country is "momentous".

Abortions will be allowed from midnight on Tuesday, following a referendum in May in which the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to overturn the country's abortion ban.

A website advising women on all aspects of abortion has now been set up, as well as a 24-hour helpline offering advice staffed by nurses and counsellors.

Some 66.4 per cent of the electorate voted to repeal an amendment in the Irish constitution, which effectively banned the termination of pregnancies, and replace it with legislation to introduce abortions up to 12 weeks without restriction.

Previously, abortion was only permitted in cases where the mother’s life was in danger, or for fatal foetal abnormalities.



Health minister Simon Harris said about 80 per cent of terminations were likely to take place in local communities, with 165 GPs signing up to provide the service.

He added that the new service was "so much better" than what was previously available to Irish women.

"I think it's momentous that... women and their partners, who face situations... like fatal foetal abnormalities will no longer have to travel abroad to access services," he said.

"Abortion is a very sensitive issue. We're talking about women in crisis pregnancies... we're talking about people in very, very difficult situations.

"Up until now... their options have been to travel or to go on the internet. All that changes (as of January 1)."