Senators will meet on Monday to continue debating the legislation

The abortion bill has been moved on to the next stage in the Seanad.

Senators voted it through second stage this evening, and the legislation is expected to pass all other stages next week.

The Government is hopeful the bill will be passed before Christmas, which would allow abortion services to begin in January.

Pro-choice senators said they were working to ensure the bill is passed

Senator Lynn Ruane argued: "There is a pressing need to get this bill passed to allow for services to start in January - but we also want to ensure that we have a chance to properly debate and air any concerns we may have over its provisions."

Independent Senator Ronan Mullen, meanwhile, spoke out against the proposed laws this afternoon.

He argued: "I hope and believe there will be a better day when we will find a way to heal the breaches that have been created here in this destructive, destructive law."

There'll be a special sitting of the Seanad on Monday so senators can debate the bill.

The legislation will allow abortions for up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy, and in very limited circumstances - such as when there is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman - after that.