05 February 2018 - Referendum on Abortion to be Held in Ireland in May
Cabinet agrees to summer vote on replacing Eighth
Sarah Bardon and Pat Leahy (Irish Times, 29/01/2018)
The Cabinet on Monday night agreed to propose a referendum on abortion to take place in early summer, which will seek to replace the Eighth Amendment with a new constitutional provision specifically enabling the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion.
Ministers agreed the proposal to “repeal and replace” at a lengthy meeting at Government Buildings. Cabinet sources said the decision was unanimous.
If passed, the new constitutional article would state that the Oireachtas may provide for the termination of pregnancy in accordance with law.
Irish referendum on abortion reform to be held by end of May
Henry McDonald (The Guardian, 29/01/2018)
The Irish government has confirmed that it will hold a referendum on reform of the country’s strict anti-abortion laws by the end of May. The cabinet agreed to give voters in the republic the chance to repeal the eighth amendment to the country’s constitution on Monday.
After a four-hour meeting, the Fine Gael-led minority coalition also decided to ask the electorate to endorse enabling powers to allow the Dáil (parliament) to draw up a new law that would eventually permit abortions in Irish hospitals up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.
Speaking after the meeting, the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said: “We have abortion in Ireland, but it is unsafe, unregulated and unlawful, and in my opinion we cannot export our problems and import our solutions.”
Ireland's abortion referendum signals progress for women – but north of the border under the DUP, things look grim
Caitlin De Jode (The Independent, 30/01/2018)
“Essentially what we’re asking people to do is to allow us to change the constitution so that we can make changes to our laws – liberalise them, relax them, make them more compassionate… We’re asking people, now, to trust women.”
For thousands of Irish people watching a blurry YouTube live stream, or desperately refreshing Twitter last night, hearing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar say those words proved to be a surprisingly emotional moment.
After a mammoth six-hour cabinet meeting, pro-choice campaigners had been waiting anxiously to hear Varadkar’s statement. Despite a commitment to support a change in the law on a BBC Radio 4 programme over the weekend, it was unclear exactly how far he would be willing to support a change in the legislation.
Cabinet agrees to repeal 8th and replace wording
Daniel McConnell and Fiachra Ó Cionnaith (Irish Examiner, 30/01/2018)
The Government has agreed that the Eighth Amendment should be repealed and replaced with new text in the Constitution to allow the Oireachtas set abortion laws.
Based on legal advice from the attorney general, Seamus Woulfe, the Cabinet decided to differ with the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, which called for a simple repeal.
The 1983 amendment guarantees the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child.