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Abortion legislation

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Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed abortion services will be free in Ireland. He said the services will be available for all women from all financial backgrounds.

He said he wants the services to be available to everyone who needs them. According to the Irish Examiner, he said cost should not be a barrier for women who need these services.

The Health Minister confirmed: “Yes, it is my intention that the services will be free.”

"I've said from the start that I don't want cost to be a barrier, because if cost is a barrier you get into a situation where one of two things happen, you get abortion clinics to develop or you can see people having to continue to travel,” he commented.

"I want this to be provided as part of our health care system, our public health care system and part of our primary health care system,” he added.

Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion was officially lifted on September 19.

The 8th amendment was removed from the Irish Constitution, as President Michael D Higgins signed the formal repeal legislation.  

The 36th Amendment of the Constitution reads:

'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.'

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It is understood that The Cabinet will sign off on the legislation to legalise abortion today.

The new legislation will give women the option to terminate a pregnancy up to the twelfth week.

Women will be able to request an abortion through a GP or primary care service. Following the appointment, there will be a 72-hour consideration period.

Women will then return to their GP and don’t have to give a reason for their decision.

A GP must confirm that they are not passed the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Termination will be allowed past 12 weeks if:

The woman's health is in danger or her life is at risk

The foetus has not reached viability

It is appropriate to carry out the termination of pregnancy in order to advert that risk

The new legislation could also see a ban on protests near areas where abortions take place.

Minister Simon Harris will also address the Cabinet about the cost of abortion in Ireland. He believes that the price should not prevent women from accessing abortion.
It is believed the legislation will be passed before the start of 2019.

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that abortion services will be available in 60 GP clinics across the country. 

He feels that this will be a sufficient number to care for the number of women seeking the service every day. 

According to The Irish Times, the Taoiseach also said that no GP would be forced to perform an abortion, but under that circumstance, they must refer their patient to a GP who will. 

'What we can’t allow is this suggestion that a GP, if he doesn’t provide the service, would then refuse to refer their patient on to someone who would.

'Because essentially that is the equivalent of, ‘you’re on your own, love’ and we’re not going to have that in Ireland any more,' he said. 

Varadkar believes that up to six women a day will choose to medically end their pregnancies, and so 60 GP services will be enough for them to have the process be accessible. 

A further six women per day will choose termination by taking an abortion pill, and will not need treatment in hospital. 

 

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