Irish government begins discussion on legislation of abortion reform laws

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Dublin, May 28 (IANS) The Irish government on Monday started consultations on the legislation of the new abortion laws after a Friday referendum decided to abolish the present constitutional ban on abortions in the country.

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris, authorized by the government to head the drafting of the new abortion laws, told the media that he will first consult the officials within his department and then seek advice from the Cabinet on Tuesday and the opposition party leaders later this week, Xinhua news agency reported.

Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who championed the referendum, said that the new abortion legislation was expected to be enacted by the end of this year due to legal procedures and other technical issues.

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However, many groups which campaigned for a Yes vote in the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution that virtually bans abortions in the country, urged the government to speed up the steps in the enaction of the new abortion laws.

Micheal Martin, leader of Fianna Fail, the largest opposition party in Ireland, said he was in favour of holding a special sitting of the lower house of the Irish Parliament and would like to see the legislation to repeal the Eighth Amendment published before the summer recess of the Parliament.

Earlier on Saturday when the official results of the referendum were announced, Mary Lou McDonald, president of the country’s third largest party Sinn Fein, also called for a quick passage of the new abortion laws so as to address the problems still faced by Irish women who want abortions.

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Abortion is still illegal in Ireland before the enaction of the new laws to replace the Eighth Amendment.

Ireland held a referendum last Friday on whether or not the Eighth Amendment should be repealed. Nearly two-thirds of the voters voted to repeal it which was inserted into the country’s Constitution after a 1983 vote.

Varadkar hailed the referendum as a victory of “a quiet revolution” that has taken place in Ireland over the last few decades.

An exit poll released on Friday night immediately after the referendum indicated that the young Irish were the decisive force in changing the current anti-abortion laws in the country.

–IANS

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