Ireland's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly passed a bill allowing free and legal abortions up to 12 weeks, paving the way for its upper house to make it law on Friday. The heavily Catholic country long had a constitutional abortion ban, but voters elected to repeal the ban in a May referendum. Ireland's lower house then introduced this bill in October, and it passed 90 votes to 15 despite a "last-ditch resistance" from anti-abortion parliamentarians. Lawmakers aim to have abortion services start Jan. 1, but Ireland's Medical Council says it would rather take time to perfect abortion guidelines for doctors.

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