Ireland to hold abortion referendum in 2018

Irish citizens will vote on the country’s constitutional protections for the unborn next year, its Government has announced.

Ireland’s Eighth Amendment currently pledges to “defend and vindicate” the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother, “as far as practicable”.

But following prolonged pressure to hold a referendum on the issue, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has announced that a vote will be held in May or June next year.

‘Cherish, not denigrate’

Mr Varadkar says he will decide how to vote when he sees the question’s wording, but has previously described the country’s pro-life laws as “too restrictive”.

Dr Ruth Cullen, from the Pro Life Campaign, said that any change in the law would introduce an abortion regime “where it would become impossible to have any meaningful protections for unborn babies”.

Dr Cullen added: “There are thousands of people alive today in Ireland thanks to the 8th Amendment. That’s something we should celebrate and cherish not denigrate.”

The Pro Life Campaign released a report in 2016 arguing that over 100,000 lives have been saved by Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn.

‘No to abortion’

Earlier this year, tens of thousands of pro-lifers held a march calling on the Irish Government to preserve the country’s existing abortion law.

The Rally for Life was led by the Life Institute, and attracted a reported 70,000 supporters.

Niamh Uí Bhriain, of the Life Institute, said at the time: “This is an incredible, powerful day, when massive crowds of ordinary people turned out to Save the 8th, to say no to abortion and yes to Life, to tell Leo Varadkar that he would lose this referendum on abortion, because the pro-life majority has arisen and will work night and day to Save the 8th.”

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