Irish government to draw up abortion referendum bill

Openly gay Irish PM Leo Varadkar to push to liberalize abortion laws

A clear majority of all voters - 56% - said they would vote in favour of the constitutional change, with 29% not in favour, and 15% saying they did not know or offering no opinion, according to an Irish Times poll published last week.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar has said he will campaign for abortion laws to be "liberalised" in an upcoming referendum on the issue. The group heard harrowing testimony from scores of Irish women and received more than 13,000 individual submissions.

"I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail, elderly people and people with significant disability", Doran said.

Terminations are now only allowed in Ireland when the life of the mother is at risk.

The Republic of Ireland now has a near total ban on abortion.

Six other countries ban abortion under all circumstances.

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A referendum on the section of Ireland's constitution that enshrines its restrictive abortion laws will be held at the end of May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced. Ireland voted for the amendment in a referendum in 1983.

The proposed national plebiscite will also allow for the Irish parliament to later devise legislation that would permit abortion in Ireland's hospitals at up to 12 weeks.

The referendum will focus on the fate of the Eighth Amendment, not on the specifics on how the law would change if the Constitution was altered.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Health Minister Simon Harris said that he would outline proposals for a potential law change that he would put before the Dail in the event of the Eighth Amendment being repealed.

The exact language of the referendum has not yet been decided, but calls to "Repeal the 8th" have been steadily growing for years.

"Millions of our young people have not had the opportunity to vote on this issue, and arguably it affects our future generations more than any others", it said in a statement.

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