Irish Political Leaders Seek Abortion Referendum

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by Christine Niles  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 26, 2015   

In the wake of the referendum legalizing gay "marriage" in Ireland, political leaders are now seeking a referendum to legalize abortion

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DUBLIN, May 26, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) – In the wake of the referendum legalizing gay “marriage” in Ireland, political leaders are now seeking a referendum to legalize abortion. After Friday's referendum resulted in a nearly two-to-one vote in favor of gay marriage, abortion activists are hoping to capitalize on this leftward momentum.

Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton said Sunday that the 2016 platform for the Labour Party “will be seeking, on behalf of women, to repeal the Eighth Amendment.” Others have since joined in the call for repeal, including Minister for Children James Reilly and Minister of State Kathleen Lynch, who said getting the amendment removed from the Constitution is very “do-able“ in light of Friday's referendum results.

The Eighth Amendment reads: 

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

The amendment was added to the Constitution as the result of a 1983 referendum, with a 67% majority voting to protect the unborn. The vote was hailed as a pro-life victory. 

Since that time, several exceptions have been made to the measure, including permitting women to travel abroad to seek abortions, and in 2013, allowing abortions in Ireland in limited circumstances.

Pro-abortion activists like the Abortion Rights Campaign have pushed for repeal of the Eighth Amendment for years, and is currently circulating a petition toward that goal.

Sinn Fein has also said it will campaign for repeal of the amendment. Labour is hoping Fine Gael, considered center-right, will come on board and support a referendum on abortion.

 

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