Majority in Ireland ‘would vote in favour of relaxing abortion laws’

Source: The Guardian

Ireland correspondent

Pro-choice protesters in Ireland

A clear majority of Irish people would vote in favour of liberalising abortion laws and allowing terminations on request up to 12 weeks, according to a poll released as the cabinet prepares to meet to hammer out details of a referendum on the issue.

In response to the question “Will you vote to change the constitution so that the government can legislate for abortion up to 12 weeks, or will you vote not to change the constitution?”, 56% said they would vote in favour, 29% said they would vote against, and 15% said they did not know or offered no opinion.

Changing the constitution would mean repealing Ireland’s eighth amendment, which recognises the equal rights to life of a foetus and the mother during pregnancy and in effect bans abortion in almost all circumstances.

Pro-choice campaigners say the amendment, added to the constitution after a referendum in 1983, creates a legal “chill factor” in the health system, even in cases where Irish law allows for a ­termination, such as when a pregnancy would result in the mother’s death.

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