Paschal Donohoe: There will be a referendum on abortion

A Fine Gael Minister has said that he believes there will be a referendum on abortion in the coming years.

However, Minister Paschal Donohoe said that that the 8th amendment needs to be considered by a citizen's convention first.

His comments come after the UN criticised Ireland's abortion laws, saying that we need to legislate to make terminations available in the cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities.

"There will be a referendum in relation to that matter in the coming years," he said.

"But what I am certain will happen first is the process that we have committed to in relation to considering this issue.

"That will happen, and is it my view that that will lead to a referendum on this issue in the coming years."

Cora Sherlock from the Pro Life campaign, said that his comments are disappointing, and that we have a good human rights record compared to other countries.

"We shouldn't be denuding or we shouldn't be defensive about our laws," she said.

"Our laws protect and respect human life."

Reacting to the Minister's announcement, ICCL Executive Director Mr Mark Kelly said: "Minister Donohoe's announcement this morning would appear to be another direct outworking of Ireland's appearance before the UN Human Rights Council yesterday, at which its restrictive abortion regime was harshly criticised.

"The Convention on the Constitution model proved to be a highly-effective means of debating sensitive matters in an intelligent and nuanced way, leading to a cross-party consensus on proposals to be put to the people.

"The Irish Council for Civil Liberties believes that it is now incumbent upon the Government to publish its full blueprint for the new Citizen's Assembly on Repeal of the 8th Amendment that the Tánaiste yesterday promised the United Nations would be up and running within six months".

Abortion rates are falling across the developed world.

The rate has dropped to an historic low, according to the US Guttmacher Institute and World Health Organisation.

Its report stated that the development was due to better access to contraception.

Up to 2014, terminations per 1,000 women of child-bearing age fell from 46 to 27.


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