Ireland To Hold Referendum On Legalising Abortion In May, Government Confirms

Vote could reverse constitutional ban.
Niall Carson - PA Images via Getty Images

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.

It offers voters the first opportunity in 35 years to overhaul some of the world’s strictest laws.

Voters will be asked if they wish to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution that was inserted in 1983 and which enshrined the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child, and to instead enable parliament to set the laws.

While not on the ballot paper, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said his government will begin drafting legislation in line with the recommendations made by an all-party parliamentary committee last month which called for terminations with no restrictions to be allowed up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

On Twitter, Varadkar wrote:

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