Wednesday 25 April 2018

Abortion up to 12 weeks goes 'further than many anticipate' - Taoiseach

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Getty Images
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Getty Images
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

PROPOSALS to allow abortion up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy go “further than many people would have anticipated”, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Cabinet ministers discussed a report from the Oireacthas Committee on the Eighth Amendment today for the first time but failed to reach any definitive conclusions.

Following the two hour debate, Mr Varadkar declined to give his own views on the upcoming referendum, saying he wanted to see the final question which will be put to voters before commenting.

However, he said: “It’s fair to say that for a lot of people in the country the proposal to allow for the termination of pregnancy up to 12 weeks went further than many people would have anticipated. It certainly went further than I would have anticipated a year or two ago.

“Also having read the committee report I understand the logic behind that and why they came to that decision, particularly given the widespread availability now of the abortion pill.

“People are getting that over the internet and using it without medical supervision all over Ireland everyday.”

Read More: Abortion referendum could be delayed until after Pope's visit

He added: “There’s a concern understandably among many politicians that the proposal might go one step too far, then again perhaps not so that’s the debate we’re going to have over the next few months.”

Health Minister Simon Harris told the Cabinet meeting that it will be possible to hold the referendum on repealing the Eighth in late May or early June if there are no delays during the Dáil process.

He received permission from ministers to begin work on legislation that could ultimately legalise abortion in this country.

The Dáil will debate the Committee’s report for three days when it returns next week.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section