Leo Varadkar to back liberalizing Irish abortion laws

30 January, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Gregory Stephens

Repealing the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution instead of replacing it with a revised version will leave too much uncertainty around Ireland's future laws on abortion, a minister of state has warned.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will campaign for a loosening of strict abortion laws as his cabinet prepares for a special meeting tonight to discuss a historic referendum.

The Government is set to imminently outline proposals to amend abortion laws if the Eighth Amendment were to fall in the referendum, potentially paving the way for a dramatic liberalisation of the current position.

Speaking on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr O'Donovan said that while he believes the referendum should go ahead, he will not support a repeal vote.

The Taoiseach and his ministers are expected to collectively agree on the issues mentioned above.

The referendum will focus on the fate of the Eighth Amendment, the section of the country's constitution that confers equal rights on a pregnant woman and her unborn child.


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

Terminations are now only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk, with the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison. The public will not vote on the specifics of how the law will change.

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.

Varadkar's own party is split over what is arguably the most contentious issue in Irish politics.

The proposed national plebiscite will also allow for the Irish parliament to later devise legislation that would permit abortion in Ireland's hospitals at up to 12 weeks.

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