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Referendum on Ireland's abortion laws to be held in May

30 January, 2018, 01:45 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Minister of State says he will not support the repeal of the Eighth

Ireland will hold a vote on liberalizing some of the Western Europe's tightest abortion rules within months, the nation's prime minister said.

Varadkar said he will advocate for a Yes vote and told how his views on the issue had changed over time - in particular while he was Minister for Health.

Mr O'Donovan said he was not going to actively campaign on the issue.

Abortion has always been illegal in Ireland and in 1983 an eighth amendment was added to the constitution after a referendum, giving equal rights to the life of the unborn child and the mother.

"We will have that referendum, hopefully in the summer."A special Irish cabinet meeting is conveyed Monday to discuss the referendum's timing".

"I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail, elderly people and people with significant disability", Doran said.

It is likely the Cabinet will agree to the Health Minister Simon Harris' request to draft legislation that would allow abortion to take place here during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Varadkar says voters will be asked whether they want to retain the amendment, or repeal it and hand responsibility for legislating on abortion to parliament.

Last December, a report by a specially convened parliamentary committee found the section of the State's Constitution that confers equal rights on the mother and unborn child - the Eighth Amendment - was not fit for objective and should be repealed.

A campaign to liberalise abortion gathered momentum in 2012, after Indian woman Savita Halappanavar died in a Galway hospital after she was refused an abortion during a miscarriage.

The decision to hold the referendum in May follows the release of a letter sent from the President of the Union of Students Ireland (USI), Michael Kerrigan to the Taoiseach.

The vote will decide whether to repeal a constitutional amendment that effectively bans terminations.

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