Dáil Debates Bill To Hold 8th Amendment Referendum

Image graph Sasko Lazarov

Image graph Sasko Lazarov

The Government will reveal a policy paper later outlining what it wants the laws on abortion to be if the 8th amendment is repealed.

It will also propose that medical practitioners who are opposed to abortion should be allowed to cite a conscientious objection as provided for in existing legislation.

Cabinet approved a referendum bill on Thursday and the Dáil will begin debating it this morning.

The wording will be: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies".

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 told the Dail he was mindful of the impact of the Eighth Amendment since it was inserted 35 years ago. Mr Harris announced that he has asked the Chief Medical Officer to look into the feasibility, and in particular the cost, of a State-run contraception service.

Ireland's health minister, Simon Harris, said on Friday that a yes vote in May would represent a "quantum leap from our position today, where have one of the most restrictive regimes, similar to Saudi Arabia".

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In line with the parliamentary committee's recommendation, the bill proposes to permit termination up to 12 weeks of pregnancy without specific indication.

"I think what the Supreme Court did was it showed how lucky we are to have the Eighth Amendment".

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

The decision comes just days after Ireland's Supreme Court ruled that the unborn child has no constitutional rights other than the right to life, a decision pro-lifers say highlights the importance of defeating the referendum. "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.

Speaking outside Leinster House, Harris said it was appropriate that this decision was taken on International Women's Day, and that he would campaign enthusiastically in favour of repealing the eighth amendment.

The debate is due on continue today until 4pm.

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