Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Irish Prime Minister says he will campaign for liberalization of #abortion laws

Irish Prime Minister says he will campaign for liberalization of #abortion laws

The Irish government has announced it will hold a national referendum "by the end of May" on reforming the country's strict anti-abortion laws.

The Cabinet also agreed that the Referendum Bill should include wording to repeal the Eighth Amendment, and also wording to be added into the Constitution to enable the Oireachtas to legislate on this matter.

Last December, a report by a specially convened Oireachtas committee found that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution, known as the Eighth Amendment and passed in 1983, was not fit for goal and should be repealed.

Speaking following the Cabinet meeting, Taoiseach Leo Varadker said: "We have abortion in Ireland but it is unsafe, unregulated and unlawful, and in my opinion we can not export our problems and import our solutions".

An opinion poll on Friday found that a majority of Irish voters would support a proposal to allow abortion up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy, but that many older voters opposed the change.

Mr O'Donovan said the current state of the law was "not tolerable", but he warned a vote to repeal could have "unintended consequences".

Ministers expressed a variety of views on how best to approach the referendum but ultimately stuck closely to the recommendations of an all-party committee on the issue.

"I believe Ireland's abortion laws are too restrictive and need to be liberalised", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

The committee proposed that terminations without restriction should be allowed for up to 12 weeks.

The referendum will focus on the fate of the Eighth Amendment, not on the specifics on how the law would change if the constitution was altered.

A referendum on the contentious issue is expected in late May or early June.

"So we have abortion in Ireland, but it is unsafe, unregulated and illegal". "As Minister for Health I became convinced abortion had no place in the Constitution".

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