GUIDELINES for doctors who will be allowed carry out abortions in limited circumstances are "at an advanced" stage and will be signed off in early January.
The guidance will be needed following this week's signing of a commencement order by Health Minister James Reilly for the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, which will become effective on January 1.
A review group has been looking at the operational issues which will need to be put in place.
From January 1, doctors will have legislative backing to terminate a pregnancy where they believe there is a real and substantial risk to the life of a mother, including threat of suicide.
A panel of doctors to assess a pregnant woman has still to be drawn up but it is unclear how many psychiatrists will seek to exempt themselves from being part of such a review panel.