The Taoiseach has said he respects the Dáil vote in favour of removing the three-day waiting period for an early term abortion.
A People Before Profit bill passed its first legislative hurdle last night after the Government allowed a free vote on the issue.
Leo Varadkar concedes it could mean changes to the current abortion laws on a faster timescale than the Government envisioned.
But the Taoiseach said he respects the vote and the bill now goes to the Oireachtas Health Committee.
Mr Varadkar said: “We brought in the legislation under Minister Harris and set up the service, so now it’s available.
“I’ve always said that this shouldn’t be a party political issue. It shouldn’t be about scoring points or politicians scoring points. It’s about women and about children and what’s best for them.
“Everyone should be allowed to have their own opinion on this, and that opinion should be respected.”
A Government amendment that would have frozen the bill for a year was defeated by 74-59. A number of Government TDs sided with the opposition in the vote.
On the bill, the Government was defeated 67-64 with eight abstentions as 11 Government TDs voted with People Before Profit.
The bill was put forward by People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.
“This is a great day for the movement for choice and for women’s healthcare, but it is only the start,” said Ms Smith.
“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.
“We can remove the three day waiting period and decriminalise abortion in this country. Women cannot wait anymore for modern reproductive healthcare in Ireland.”