Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Ireland's Government approves abortion referendum wording

Cabinet unanimously approves eighth amendment referendum bill Referendum on eighth amendment set to go ahead following court ruling
Sergio Cook | 11 March, 2018, 03:02

In commencing the debate, Minister for Health Simon Harris said he was "mindful of the impact of the Eighth Amendment over the 35 years since its insertion" in 1983.

Ireland will get a glimpse today of what the legal landscape, post-repeal of the eighth amendment, might look like, following the publication of a government policy paper on abortion legislation.

"We will not be able to address issues in relation to women who have had fatal fetal abnormalities in their pregnancy, in relation to women and girls who have been raped and abused in this country, to the fact that our daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, work colleagues could be using the abortion pill without medical supervision", Harris said.

Ministers formally approved the referendum bill at a Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings in Dublin.

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

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. "Retaining the Eighth Amendment will not prevent it from happening".

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

"This referendum is about asking our citizens to allow women to make major decisions for themselves".

Mr Harris said he is now proposing to introduce a time period that is required to elapse between the assessment by a medical practitioners and the procedure being carried out.

Fianna Fail's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said that Irish women were being treated as second class citizens and it could no longer continue.

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.

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.

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

The debate is due on continue today until 4pm.

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