Minister Harris has stressed that cost shouldn't be a barrier

The cabinet has signed off on the legislation to allow abortions.

Health Minister Simon Harris brought the legislation to allow abortions before his cabinet colleagues this morning.

It's largely in line with the General Scheme published before the referendum in May.

It will allow terminations without needing a reason for up to 12 weeks into pregnancy, and in more limited circumstances after that.

There's a few small additions to the legislation: one is to allow safe zones around areas where abortions are carried out.

This would mean protesters will not be able to hang posters or demonstrate close to those areas, in what's seen as a direct response to the graphic abortion posters seen outside some maternity hospitals during the referendum campaign.

The revised legislation also adds that cost shouldn't be a barrier to accessing a termination.

The legislation can't be introduced in the Dáil before the summer break because of a number of legal challenges to the referendum result.

Speaking after today's cabinet meeting, Minister Harris said: "Work continues on preparations for the introduction of this health service - including the development of clinical guidelines.

"It is the Government’s intention to make this health service available in Ireland in January 2019.”