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Oireachtas Committee Supports Abortion Up To 12 Weeks Without Restriction

Oireachtas Committee Supports Abortion Up To 12 Weeks Without Restriction

Committee members voted 14-6 to recommend to the Oireachtas (parliament) to repeal the 8th amendment, and voted 12-5 to recommend to allow terminations without restrictions up to 12 weeks.

The Tánaiste has provided some clarity on the steps the Government will take once the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment publishes its report next week.

Forty-eight percent recommended that the termination of pregnancy without restriction should be lawful up to 12 weeks gestation age only.

The committee also voted in favour of a series of reasons where terminations would be permitted, as recommended by the Citizens' Assembly earlier this year, including a risk to life, risk to life by suicide, and risk to physical and mental health.

The committee voted overwhelming in favour for abortion to be allowed in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

"It is a clear recognition of the complexity of decisions in pregnancy and that these decisions are private and personal, never political".

"However, we would wish to emphasise that to review or question the value of the Eighth Amendment at this time is not by implication to call for easy access to abortion".

Protesters Storm N'Assembly Over NGO Bill
The commission will be charged with ensuring that NGOs accomplish their various missions in a transparent manner and be accountable for their operation.

The Citizens' Assembly made its recommendations in April by a secret-ballot vote, and its recommendations were seen as a victory by pro-choice activists campaigning for repeal. "The person who can best protect a developing life is the pregnant woman, in consultation with her doctor, and not the Constitution".

Liam Herrick, executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, said the potential reforms are a great step forward to protect the rights of women and girls.

The Eighth Amendment pledges to "defend and vindicate" the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother, "as far as practicable".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that following this stage, a referendum on the issue could be held in May next year. For the moment, the party's position is to allow for abortions under certain circumstances.

TDs and senators also voted in favour of decriminalising abortion for women who undergo the procedure. Noonan broke her pattern of abstaining from voting as she felt very strongly about the issue, voting in favour of the motion. But the Committee went far further with its recommendation that abortion up to 12 weeks should be without restriction.

"We were also pleased to see a recommendation for access to abortion without gestational limits in cases of fatal foetal abnormality".

Preparations are already underway for a referendum on abortion next Summer.


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