Ireland sets May referendum on legalized abortion

11 March, 2018, 03:04 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Cabinet unanimously approves eighth amendment referendum bill

It will be debated in the Dáil tomorrow, and Health Minister Simon Harris will outline the legislation the Government want to bring in if the Eighth Amendment is repealed.

The government says that if the yes vote wins it will push legislation through parliament later this year to allow for abortions to be carried out up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

Global Positioning System and medical practitioners will lead the service, which will be done by administering abortion pills.

The bill to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, which provides for the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn, will be introduced in the Dáil today.

The exact wording would be: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy".

Currently, the penalty for an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison and they are only allowed legally if the mother's life is at risk from the pregnancy. The referendum, slated for the end of May, will be putting a possible repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish people.

Mr Harris said he was looking into introducing a system of free contraception in an effort to reduce pregnancies.

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"These recommendations are extremely important to me as Minister for Health and to my commitment to ensuring that all women accessing maternity services should receive the same standard of safe, high-quality care", he said.

After 12 weeks, two medical professionals will likely be asked to determine the risk to a woman's life, health or mental health before a termination can be provided.

Mr Harris said this brief period of time would allow women to consider of all of the options before making an informed decision.

Fianna Fail TD Billy Kelleher - a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Abortion said Irish women have been failed by the Eighth Amendment. "It is clear beyond any doubt from today's announcement from Government that a vote for repeal is a vote for abortion on demand up to birth", she added.

The move comes after a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday that protections for the unborn child offered under the state's constitution do not extend beyond the right to life.

The debate on the controversial issue is due to resume after the St Patrick's Day week-long break on March 20.

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