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Irish Government Approves Abortion Referendum Bill

Irish Government Approves Abortion Referendum Bill

The Irish Government has approved the wording for a referendum on abortion, due to take place at the end of May. The referendum will be the first opportunity in 35 years for voters to possibly change Ireland's laws on abortion, which are among some of the strictest in the world.

Voters will be asked whether or not they wish to remove the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal rights to life to mothers and unborn children. The bill was formally approved in Dublin on Thursday, clearing way for the referendum to take place in May this year. 

Currently, terminations are only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk. The maximum penalty under Irish law for accessing illegal abortion is a lengthy 14 year prison sentence. The specific wording for the referendum will state "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies."

Campaigners in Ireland have been pushing for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks into pregnancy. The approval of the bill and the confirmation of a referendum will take campaigners one step closer to receiving their wish.

 

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