Government approves referendum bill on 8th Amendment

Cyril Byrne

If approved, the move would repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution, which guarantees equal rights for mothers and their unborn children, and pave the way for the government to radically liberalise the country's abortion laws.

It's very appropriate and fitting that on this day the Irish Government has taken a decision that we will have a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment and that we will have finalised the wording for that referendum.

Global Positioning System and medical practitioners will lead the service, which will be done by administering abortion pills.

As the Irish parliament began to debate a referendum bill, the bishops called on Catholics to "work actively" to resist change.

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

Medical practitioners will also have a contentious objection, so if they do not feel comfortable allowing abortions they will not have to.

"These recommendations are extremely important to me as Minister for Health and to my commitment to ensuring that all women accessing maternity services should receive the same standard of safe, high-quality care", he said.

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These include that there should be some time between the initial medical assessment of the pregnant woman and a termination being carried out.

Mr Harris said this brief period of time would allow women to consider of all of the options before making an informed decision.

The bishops said in a statement: "We believe that the deletion or amendment of this article can have no other effect than to expose unborn children to greater risk and that it would not bring about any benefit for the life or health of women in Ireland".

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

On Wednesday, Ireland's Supreme Court cleared the way for an abortion referendum planned for the end of May, ruling that the unborn do not have inherent constitutional rights outside the right to life in the eighth amendment of the constitution.

A policy paper is also being discussed today, outlining the legislative parameters of what will replace the eighth Amendment in the event that the public votes in favour of a repeal in May.

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