Abortion to be legal in Ireland from 1 January after Seanad passes legislation 3 years ago

Abortion to be legal in Ireland from 1 January after Seanad passes legislation

A historic moment.

On Thursday evening, the Seanad followed the Dáil in passing the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill 2018. Abortions will now be legally available in Ireland from 1 January, 2019.


Following a tense year of debate which saw the Irish public go to the polls over its constitutional ban on abortion, legislation to provide reproductive healthcare services has been approved by both houses of the Oireachtas.

The bill was overwhelmingly supported by the Dáil last week, and tonight it has passed through the upper house with 27 votes for and 5 against.

The bill can now proceed to President Michael D. Higgins to be signed into law.

On 25 May this year, Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment, which placed a constitutional ban on abortion, by a margin of 66% to 34%. The vote ended the constraints of a 35 year old amendment which had been widely criticised by human rights organisations and civil society.


The bill faced no fewer than 63 amendments, resulting in hours of debate, but each amendment was rejected.

Minister for Health Simon Harris, a key proponent of the Yes vote, has welcomed tonight’s Seanad vote, said: "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. A vote to end lonely journeys, end the stigma and support women’s choices in our own country."