A bill to amend Ireland’s existing abortion laws has moved to the second stage after a historic vote in the Dáil on May 31.

TD Brid Smith of People Before Profit (PBP) tabled the Private Members Bill that seeks to amend the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.

According to PBP, the bill contains "radical measures to reform the restrictive 2018 abortion law and provide for real choice."

The bill calls for abortion on request beyond 12 weeks prior to viability, full decriminalization "to remove the chilling effect for doctors," abolition of the three-day wait, and reform of the fatal fetal anomaly provision "to ensure no one in that terrible situation is forced to travel."

The bill passed to the second stage in the Dáil after coalition parties gave members a free vote.

Huge result as People Before Profit TD @bridsmithTD's Pro-Choice Bill passes 2nd stage, with narrow 67-64 vote.

Well done to the activists who fought hard to pressure TDs. The bill will:

✅ End the 3-day wait
✅ End 12-week restriction
✅ End criminalisation of doctors pic.twitter.com/Utw2ARFOax

— People Before Profit (@pb4p) May 31, 2023

The first vote of the evening saw an amendment tabled by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly fail. He had proposed a motion to delay the reading of the bill for 12 months. His motion was defeated by 74 votes to 61 with three abstentions.

A second vote on the draft legislation then passed, with 67 votes for, 64 against, and eight abstentions.

After the vote, TD Smith said: "This is a great day for the movement for choice and for women's healthcare, but it is only the start. Well done to all the people who campaigned for this amazing result.

"We have to keep the pressure on so that this bill can become law - so that we can remove the three-day waiting period and decriminalise abortion in this country.

"Women cannot wait anymore for modern reproductive healthcare in Ireland."

PBP claimed the “historic vote” was just the beginning, confirming that their work
to amend the current abortion legislation is about “respecting Repeal.”

The Repeal referendum campaign of 2018 saw the eighth amendment in Ireland’s
Constitution - which effectively banned abortions under any circumstance - overturned.

“Repeal was about saying trust women to make the right decision for them and their own bodies,” PBP said in a statement.

“The laws that came in afterwards, such as a three-day wait, didn’t match up to that.

"Last night’s historic vote was about respecting Repeal.”

Repeal was about saying #trustwomen to make the right decision for them and their own bodies.

The laws that came in afterwards, such as the 3-day wait, didn't match up to that.

Last night's historic vote was about respecting #Repeal. #prochoice pic.twitter.com/7PZJbUefJB

— People Before Profit (@pb4p) June 1, 2023

*This column first appeared in the June 7 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.