Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said that the days when one church "determined the boundaries of women's lives" are over.
He also said that abortion legislation falls short in areas such as rape cases and fatal foetal abnormalities.
Minister Gilmore said that it is setting out the law as defined by the Supreme Court - and not by the Catholic church.
"This country and this Government is not going back to the days when one church determined the boundaries of women's lives, when one church controlled the most intimate details of people's private lives, when one church held sway over the kind of maternity care women could receive in our hospitals with devastating results.
"Those days are over."