Ireland could hold abortion referendum in May

What happened?

Ireland could be an abortion-friendly country as early as next summer, after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he wanted the country’s Eighth Amendment referendum to happen in May. The amendment protects the life of the unborn child.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee has voted in favour of repeal. The committee proposed allowing all abortions up to 12 weeks and later if a mother’s health is deemed to be at risk or if the unborn child has fatal disabilities.

What the campaign teams said

Colm O’ Gorman of Amnesty International Ireland, which is in the vanguard of the pro-abortion campaign, welcomed Varadkar’s announcement and the committee vote. The vote, he said, along with “recent opinion polls”, had “highlighted the wide-ranging support that exists to reform Ireland’s abortion laws.”

Cora Sherlock, of the Pro-Life Campaign, said that the 12-week limit was “plucked from thin air. It reveals a frightening disregard for the right to life of the most innocent and defenceless members of society, namely unborn babies.”

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