Irish government approves abortion referendum wording

After many years of women being forced to travel to access abortion care, and numerous court cases, we have the possibility of removing the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution by referendum, expected to be held on May 25 this year, and a way forward that recognises the need for abortion care in Ireland.

The Irish government formally approved the referendum bill at a cabinet meeting in Dublin on Thursday.

In the referendum, voters will be asked if they want to repeal the eighth amendment, which declares that unborn foetuses and pregnant women an equal right to life. "Women who've been raped and told they had to carry their pregnancy to full term". 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. "Instead International Women's Day 2018 is being used as part of the government's choreography to introduce abortion on demand into Ireland".

On Friday, the government will outline the legislation, which would allow abortions up to 12 weeks, with a waiting period of no longer than three days after the request. "The way the day is being exploited is a total betrayal of women and their unborn babies".

The government in January proposed holding a referendum to liberalize the abortion regime at the end of May, offering voters the first opportunity in 35 years to overhaul some of the world's strictest laws on the issue. This could mean wide exceptions that allow even healthy, viable, late-term unborn babies to be aborted for nearly any reason. 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.

On International Women's Day yesterday, Health Minister Simon Harris said: 'Today, as you know, is International Women's Day.

Ms McDonald said she will hold an Ard Fheis in order for the party to re-examine the matter, although it most likely won't be in time for the referendum date in May.

She said that the protestors' message to the minister was, "We deserve your support, not your abortion bill". "[But] retaining the Eighth Amendment does not negate the fact that abortion is already a reality in this country".

But Cullen and other pro-life advocates said there is a better way.

A change to the law would be a monumental step for Ireland, where since 1983 it has been estimated that 170,000 women have left the country to terminate pregnancies.

  • Rogelio Becker