Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Irish government approves abortion referendum wording

Government ministers Charlie Flanagan Josepha Madigan Simon Harris Regina Doherty and Richard Bruton arrive to address the media at Government Buildings in Dublin after the the Cabinet met to discuss the next steps in the abortion Irish government approves abortion referendum wording
Patty Aguilar | 09 March, 2018, 19:16

A landmark Supreme Court ruling will allow the Irish Government to press ahead with a planned abortion referendum.

"There has been no rationale offered as to why the entire process has had to lead to a mad rush to May 25th as the date for the proposed referendum, which will strip the unborn children of all constitutional protection if the amendment is removed, " he added.

The Irish government has finalised the wording for the abortion referendum, which is set to be held in May.

Article 40.3.3° reads: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right".

The question put to voters is expected to ask if there should be abortion without specific indication for up to 12 weeks.

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".

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Government will reveal a policy paper later outlining what it wants the laws on abortion to be if the 8th amendment is repealed.

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Addressing the Dáil during a debate on the referendum bill today, Health Minister Simon Harris said work is under way to consider how a free contraception service might work and what the introduction of such a scheme would involve.

This means that abortion is not allowed except when a woman's life is at risk. Moreover, in nearly all these 40 countries, once the time-period for legal abortion on a woman's request or on broad socioeconomic or psychological grounds ends, doctors can also legally perform abortion for one or more exceptional reasons also specified in laws or regulations.

The contentious Eighth Amendment of the country's legal framework enshrines the right to life of the unborn - a provision that renders abortion illegal other than in exceptional circumstances.

"The only right it talks about is the right to life, which is subject to the right to life of the mother as well", he said.

"If a baby is born at the Coombe or Holles Street, it gains its constitutional rights at the first cry, but not before then".

The Referendum Commission is an independent statutory body that must be established in advance of any referendum in Ireland to provide unbiased information to the public about the issue.

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