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Ireland To Hold Referendum On Legalising Abortion In May, Government Confirms

Ireland To Hold Referendum On Legalising Abortion In May, Government Confirms

The law was changed following public outrage at the death of a pregnant woman in 2012 who was refused an abortion.

In order to vote in the referendum, Irish citizens must register at least 15 days before polling day.

The cabinet's decision to hold a referendum was unanimous, although there are differences of opinion over the proposal to liberalise access to abortion among politicians.

The referendum is likely to be held towards the end of May, once the legislation is debated in parliament.

The union said in a statement: "Millions of our young people have not had the opportunity to vote on this issue, and arguably it affects our future generations more than any others".

The clause issue has led to some criticism from opposition parties which wanted a straightforward repeal question to be asked in the referendum.

According to the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, abortion is now illegal in nearly all circumstances, unless the mother's life is in immediate danger.

Will it be a binding vote?

If passed, the new constitutional article would state that the parliament may provide for the termination of pregnancy in accordance with the law.

Thousands of Irish women already travel overseas for abortion or obtain pills that are taken without medical supervision, he said, adding that Ireland could not continue to "export our problems and import our solutions" on abortion. "Modern, accessible and compassionate abortion care must be a guaranteed outcome of the referendum passing ― that is non-negotiable".

The eighth amendment gives a mother and unborn child an equal right to life, meaning abortion is banned in nearly all circumstances.

"Such an intervention would be different from an abortion, which is the direct and intentional taking of the innocent life of the unborn".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined the Government's approach on Monday evening.

Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that he will campaign for change.

Laws against abortion have been supported by the Catholic Church, which views the procedure as a mortal sin and has a large, if waning, influence on life in Ireland.

He furthermore added: 'It's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, it is part of my character I suppose, ' he said. "My own views have evolved over time - life experience does that", Varadkar said, according to Sky News.

Colm O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "We are heartened at today's government backing for legislation framed around a 12-week "on request" model for abortion access, with later gestational limits in specific circumstances".

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