Thursday 5 December 2019

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will campaign to liberalise abortion

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Sean Nolan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he will campaign to liberalise Ireland's abortion laws.

The Fine Gael leader had said earlier this month that he believed 'Ireland's abortion laws are too restrictive and need to be liberalised' and he reiterated that point in an interview on BBC Radio 4 this morning.

Mr Varadkar also said that he would be campaigning to change the laws regarding abortion.

“I’ll be campaigning for them to be changed and to be liberalised, yes," Mr Varadkar said when asked if he would be campaigning for change.

"My own views on this matter have evolved and I think sometimes the term pro-life and pro-choice can be misunderstood. I think even people who are in favour of abortion in certain circumstances are pro life. I still believe in life. I understand there are circumstances under which pregnancies can't continue."

The interview comes just two days before Mr Varadkar is expected to formally declare his position on repeal of the Eight Amendment.

The Cabinet is set to approve the "repeal and enable" approach to the wording of the referendum on the Eighth Amendment at a special meeting on Monday.

The question to be put to the public will involve the deletion of the Eighth Amendment from the constitution - replacing it with a clause giving explicit responsibility to the Oireachtas to legislate on the matter.

Although the Oireachtas Committee on abortion recommended the question involve a simple repeal of the article, or "repeal simpliciter", the government believes 'repeal and enable' will reinforce the legislation.

Thus it will be less likely to be successfully challenged in the courts.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he will declare his position on the matter on Monday evening.

The Cabinet will also agree other detail including the recommendation allowing abortion up to 12 weeks regulated through a GP-service.

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