Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Ireland sets May referendum on legalized abortion

Cabinet unanimously approves eighth amendment referendum bill Referendum on eighth amendment set to go ahead following court ruling
Eugene Bates | 11 March, 2018, 03:02

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this referendum is about asking citizens to allow women to make major decisions for themselves.

It should be a day that we also celebrate the bond of mother and baby and challenge those in power to provide the necessary supports so that no woman ever feels she has no choice but to go down the road of abortion.

Mr Harris said he was looking into introducing a system of free contraception in an effort to reduce pregnancies. "Retaining the Eighth Amendment will not prevent it from happening".

In line with the parliamentary committee's recommendation, the bill proposes to permit termination up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without specific indication. Today, Mr Harris stated it will be hard to meet the May deadline.

A change to the law would be a monumental step for Ireland, where since 1983 it has been estimated that 170,000 women have left the country to terminate pregnancies.

The decision cleared the way for the referendum in a country where terminations are only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk.

The bishops said in a statement: "We believe that the deletion or amendment of this article can have no other effect than to expose unborn children to greater risk and that it would not bring about any benefit for the life or health of women in Ireland".

Cabinet unanimously approves eighth amendment referendum bill

"It's about trusting women to decide, in the early weeks of their pregnancy, what's right for them and their families", Mr Varadkar said.

A policy paper is also being discussed today, outlining the legislative parameters of what will replace the eighth Amendment in the event that the public votes in favour of a repeal in May.

The proposal is the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill to the House.

Mr McGrath added that the opposition of Global Positioning System would make post-referendum situation unworkable if the referendum was passed.

"We the women of Ireland inherited a Republic of misogyny, a Republic of cruelty, and an Oireachtas, a Dail and Seanad that has been, and in many cases still is, a cold place for women and girls".

"This is a historic and momentous day for Ireland, and for the women of Ireland, in particular", said Ailbhe Smyth, convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.

The debate is due on continue today until 4pm.

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