The Taoiseach has said the Government would not allow doctors the right to refuse to refer a woman seeking an abortion to another doctor.

Leo Varadkar said that sends out a message that "you're on your own, love" and that was not acceptable in Ireland anymore.

He said that doctors would have a right to conscientiously object to providing a termination of pregnancy, but they would be required to refer patients to other doctors.

Mr Varadkar said the service could be effectively delivered by as few as 60 doctors.

A recent meeting of the National Association of GPs (NAGP) called for members who conscientiously object to providing an abortion not to have to refer the patient to another doctor. That is similar to legislation in New Zealand.

But the Government's view is clear - the legislation that will most likely be published here on the second week of July will not contain a similar measure.

This evening, the NAGP welcomed the fact the new system would be an opt-in one for doctors.

The association also said once any new legislation was passed, revised ethical guidance would be needed for doctors from the Medical Council, on all the issues that arise, including conscientious objection and onward referral of patients.