The Irish government on Monday agreed to hold a referendum in May to decide whether to revoke the country’s almost total ban on abortion, The Irish Times reported. The vote will decide whether the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which effectively bans termination of pregnancy, should be revoked with an amendment.
Currently, Irish law allows abortion only when a woman’s life is at risk. It does not permit termination of pregnancy even in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality, BBC reported.
If the Irish vote in favour of changing the laws against abortion, the government will use a report by the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, to introduce legislation on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Oireachtas is the legislature of Ireland.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday evening that after 12 weeks, abortion would be allowed only in “exceptional circumstances” – where there was a serious risk to the life or health of the woman or a fatal foetal abnormality.