Ireland sets May referendum on legalized abortion

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Health minister Simon Harris said if people vote no on the issue, it will be impossible for the government to address issues around female healthcare in Ireland.

The government of Ireland announced Thursday it will hold a referendum in May asking voters to repeal the Eighth Amendment, bringing the country one step closer to legalizing abortion.

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.

It should be a day that we also celebrate the bond of mother and baby and challenge those in power to provide the necessary supports so that no woman ever feels she has no choice but to go down the road of abortion.

That wording will be: 'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies'.

"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.

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A five-bench judge also defined the rule to implement the procedure in case there would be no living wills . India with its historic judgment joined the likes of South Africa and Japan to allow Passive Euthanasia .

It is generally in line with the recommendations of the all-party Oireachtas committee which proposed allowing terminations without restriction up to 12 weeks, although the document will use different wording.

Providing access to medical abortion on request in early pregnancy, and in later pregnancy in additional circumstances, is the minimum needed to respect and fulfil women's human rights.

Mr Harris said this brief period of time would allow women to consider of all of the options before making an informed decision.

"It's about trusting women to decide, in the early weeks of their pregnancy, what's right for them and their families", Mr Varadkar said. "It is clear beyond any doubt from today's announcement from Government that a vote for repeal is a vote for abortion on demand up to birth", she added.

Ailbhe Smyth of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment said: "This is a historic and momentous day for Ireland, and for the women of Ireland in particular".

The debate on the controversial issue is due to resume after the St Patrick's Day week-long break on March 20.