Coveney to campaign for repeal of abortion law

Pro-choice supporters march in Dublin

Voters will be asked if they want to remove the Eighth Amendment which gives equal right to life to mothers and unborn children

The decision comes just days after Ireland's Supreme Court ruled that the unborn child has no constitutional rights other than the right to life, a decision pro-lifers say highlights the importance of defeating the referendum.

The Irish government has finalised the wording for the abortion referendum, which is set to be held in May.

Ireland will get a glimpse today of what the legal landscape, post-repeal of the eighth amendment, might look like, following the publication of a government policy paper on abortion legislation.

Speaking outside Government Buildings earlier today, Minister for Health Simon Harris said that it was appropriate that this decision was taken on International Women's Day.

Ministers approved the bill in the last hour, and the next stage will require the Dáil and Seanad to give their approval before a date can be fixed for the referendum. Today should also be a day where we talk about the horror of gendercide and the millions of missing girls who were aborted for no other reason than due to their gender.

The question put to voters is expected to ask if there should be abortion without specific indication for up to 12 weeks.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Image Leo Varadkar plans to hold the referendum in May

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On Wednesday, Ireland's Supreme Court cleared the way for an abortion referendum planned for the end of May, ruling that the unborn do not have inherent constitutional rights outside the right to life in the eighth amendment of the constitution.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar used International Women's Day to announce the ballot wording, saying the referendum was about "trusting women to decide, in the early weeks of their pregnancy, what's right for them and their families".

After the 12-week limit, abortions will be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, or where there's a risk to the life, health or mental health of the mother.

The Taoiseach added: 'Above all it's about trusting Irish people to consider this matter in depth, with compassion and empathy, as I know they will'.

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