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Speaking in the Dáil today, Minister for Health Simon Harris called the job of legislating for abortion "serious and challenging".

The minister kicked off the Dail debate on the abortion referendum yesterday, making the final steps before a vote on whether or not to keep the Eighth Amendment, to take place at the end of May.

Global Positioning System and medical practitioners will lead the service, which will be done by administering abortion pills.

The Irish government has approved the wording that will appear on the ballot paper in May's abortion referendum.

If the Eighth Amendment is repealed, women will be able to have an abortion up to 12 weeks into their pregnancy regulated through a GP-led service.

Medical practitioners will also have a contentious objection, so if they do not feel comfortable allowing abortions they will not have to.

That wording will be: 'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies'. "Retaining the Eighth Amendment will not prevent it from happening".

Leo Varadkar said that the new law would carry restrictions.

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"This work has so far established that provision of free access to contraception methods, which are now limited to those with eligibility through the Primary Care Reimbursement Services, would require enabling primary legislation", said Harris.

In line with the parliamentary committee's recommendation, the bill proposes to permit termination up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without specific indication.

"This referendum is about asking our citizens to allow women to make major decisions for themselves".

Providing access to medical abortion on request in early pregnancy, and in later pregnancy in additional circumstances, is the minimum needed to respect and fulfil women's human rights.

Fianna Fail's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said that Irish women were being treated as second class citizens and it could no longer continue.

The move follows a ruling by the Irish Supreme Court Wednesday that said the unborn have no constitutional rights outside of the Article.

"The Labour Party was very clear in 1983 that the Eighth Amendment was the wrong amendment for our Constitution and for Ireland, for the people of Ireland and particularly for the women of Ireland".


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