Irish referendum on liberalising abortion laws to be held in May

Pro-life TD Mattie Mc Grath accused the Tánaiste of making a ‘dog’s dinner’ of it. Pic Rolling News

Pro-life TD Mattie Mc Grath accused the Tánaiste of making a ‘dog’s dinner’ of it. Pic Rolling News

After the bill made its final passage through the Seanad, backed by 40 votes to 10, it was confirmed this evening that the referendum will be held in May date as expected.

The referendum to decide whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment has been set for Friday, 25 May.

It was speculated that this would be the date, but confirmation came today via Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy.

Recent weeks have seen a step up in campaigning from both sides of the debate.

The Minister added that in cases where there was a risk to the life or health of a woman, termination would not be lawful 'beyond viability'.

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Under the proposed legislation, access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy would be accompanied by rigid medical protocols, including a pause period between requesting an abortion pill and it being prescribed. Abortion could be allowed in some cases beyond that point.

Ireland will vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the constitution which recognises the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother.

Several thousand Irish women travel each year to get abortions in the UK.

The Government has proposed draft laws which it plans to introduce if the referendum is passed.

The most recent poll on Sunday showed a slight drop in support for a Yes vote to 56% from 60% two months ago, with 26% opposed and 18% undecided.

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