Dáil Concludes Debate On Bill Enabling Referendum On The 8th Amendment


There will be no late or full-term terminations under new abortion laws proposed by the government, Simon Harris has promised.

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.

"If this Oireachtas facilitates a referendum, I will be casting my ballot for repeal and asking others to do the same because I can not live any longer with a law that sees a woman or a girl who has been brutally raped forced to continue her pregnancy or travel to another country if she can not", he said.

"If our underlying principle is that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, then we must do all we can to reduce the number of crisis pregnancies and to support women in every way".

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "The legislative framework outlined today would broadly realise women's rights, and meet the State's human right obligations".

The policy paper, read to the Dail by the minister, concentrated mainly on the circumstances in which an abortion would be lawful, as opposed to detail of how it would be rolled out.

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"We will not be able to address issues in relation to women who have had fatal fetal abnormalities in their pregnancy, in relation to women and girls who have been raped and abused in this country, to the fact that our daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, work colleagues could be using the abortion pill without medical supervision", Harris said.

A woman will be obliged to wait 48-72 hours before a termination can take place.

He observed: "If the objective of the 8th amendment was to stop abortions in Ireland, and to stop Irish women access abortions, it did not achieve that".

The High Court ruled that the unborn enjoyed rights beyond the right to life set out in the eighth amendment that voters are due to be asked if they wish to repeal in the proposed referendum. I don't know anyone who isn't.

He will describe the regime he would aim to bring in in the event of a repeal vote.

While he said the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment were focused on the discussion and recommendations on the issue of abortion, it also raised issues such as free access to contraception, comprehensive sex education, obstetric care and counselling.