Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has signalled that abortion services will be “phased in” next month, adding services will not be available “in every hospital”.
Speaking in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said the legislation still has to pass the Seanad, may have to go back to the Dáil and will have to be assessed and signed into law by the President before services can commence.
However, for the first time, he did say a 100% service would not be available from day one.
Health Minister Simon Harris has promised that abortion services would be available to women from January 1, but concerns have been expressed at the tight deadline by some medical experts.
But Mr Varadkar said he is still confident services will be in place.
“I am confident the services will be available in January. Obviously there are a number of contingencies, the legislation still has to get through the Seanad, it may have to go back to the Dáil.
"Assuming the bill is enacted and signed into law by the president the service will be available from January,” he said.
“But like any new service it is not going to be a case of flicking a switch that one day there is no service and the next day a 100% service. It will have to be rolled out, it will have to be phased in. It may not be available in every single hospital in every single place but it will be available,” he added.
The Seanad is meeting especially today to begin the committee stage debate on the controversial legislation which aims to give legal effect to the referendum result last May, where 66% of voters chose to repeal the 1983 Eighth Amendment