Published Tuesday, 18 December 2012
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says the legislation will be based on the X Case ruling. (© Getty)
The announcement comes after lobbying for legislation for the X case, which campaigned for abortion where the woman's life is threatened, including by suicide.
The case happened 20 years ago and involved a teenager who became pregnant after
A High Court banned her from going to England for a termination, despite having suicidal thoughts.
The Supreme Court eventually ruled that despite abortion being illegal in Ireland, a woman had the right to seek a termination if her life was in danger, but no legislation was ever put in place.
The campaign was put in the spotlight again last month, after a dentist suffering a miscarriage died at a Galway hospital when she was allegedly refused an abortion.
In the new year, the Oireachtas Health Committee will hold a series of public hearings ahead of the framing of legislation.
At this stage I don't think it is wise for anyone to pre-empt exactly what will be in the legislation or regulations.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said it is too early to say what will be in the legislation but it will be based on the X case ruling.
He said: "The legislation will obviously have to be within the terms of the constitution, and will also have to be within the terms of the supreme court judgement on the X case which as you recall was a cause which involved suicide."
Choice Ireland spokesperson Stephanie Lord said that the X case ruling means that the Irish government must introduce a provision for suicide in any legislation.
"The next step should be the introduction of a referendum bill that will repeal the 8th amendment.
"It is inhumane that this has not happened before now. There are 4,500 women that travel overseas for abortion services every year, and many more that order pills online to induce abortions at home.
"Women have a right to make the best choice for them under their circumstances, and their right to health care must also be upheld. It is now time to introduce free, safe, and legal abortion on demand in Ireland."
The four Catholic Archbishops of Ireland issued a joint statement on Tuesday night in response to the government's decision.
Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh; Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin; Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel & Emly; and Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam said the decision to legislate "should be of the utmost concern to all."
The statement read:"If what is being proposed were to become law, the careful balance between the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child in current law and medical practice in Ireland would be fundamentally changed. It would pave the way for the direct and intentional killing of unborn children. This can never be morally justified in any circumstances."
It continued:"The decision of the Supreme Court in the 'X' case unilaterally overturned the clear pro-life intention of the people of Ireland as expressed in Article 40.3.3 of our Constitution. To legislate on the basis of such a flawed judgement would be both tragic and unnecessary.
"The dignity of the human person and the common good of humanity depend on our respect for the right to life of every person from the moment of conception to natural death."
The Archbishops said that the right to life is the most fundamental of all rights.
"It is the very basis for every other right we enjoy as persons."
© UTV News