The Minister for Health has described the enactment of abortion legislation in Ireland as 'another truly historic moment'.
Abortion officially became legal here after the President, Michael D Higgins, signed the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Bill into law on December 20.
"This paves the way for the introduction of the service for termination of pregnancy from January 2019," Minister Harris said.
The legislation permits abortions to be carried out up to 12 weeks of pregnancy; or where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman; or where there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the health, of the pregnant woman in an emergency; or where there is a condition present which is likely to lead to the death of the foetus either before or within 28 days of birth.
According to the Department of Health, it is envisaged that most terminations that are up to nine weeks of pregnancy, will take place in the community setting. A small number of these terminations will need to take place in maternity hospitals for medical reasons.
All terminations after nine weeks of pregnancy will take place in maternity hospitals.
Preparations for the service are currently being finalised and details of the information and counselling helpline for termination of pregnancy will be available at myoptions.ie.
"My Options is a new HSE freephone service that provides free and confidential information and support to people experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. It will be available from January 1, 2019, on 1800 828 010.
"Professional and experienced counsellors will be available to talk to people about all their options, including continued pregnancy supports and how to access abortion services in Ireland. This is a free service, available to everyone who needs it. Further information is available online at myoptions.ie," explained Helen Deely of the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.
Meanwhile, Minister Harris thanked everyone involved in making this legislation a reality.
"I want to thank all those who have worked long hours to make sure that a safe, woman-centred service would be available in Ireland. We can now look forward to a future where any woman facing a crisis pregnancy can be assured that she will be treated with compassion and will be able to access all the care she and her family need in this country, supported by those who love them," he said.