Dermot & Dave

Here's What You'll Be Voting On In This Year's Abortion Referendum

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Last night the government confirmed plans to hold a referendum on abortion this year. 

The Oireachtas will be tasked with bringing in new laws should the 8th amendment be repealed, but here's what people will actually be voting on.

Leo Varadkar said the question would likely be: 

"That article 40.3.3 be removed from the Constitution and that provision may be made by law for the regulation of the termination of pregnancy."

Essentially this means the 8th would be gone and power would lie with the Dáil and Seanad to legislate for abortion. 

This seems obvious, but the advice from the Attorney General was that a provision needed to be added to the constitution to make sure any new laws would better withstand any legal challenge. 

It's likely the final question will be known in March when Simon Harris brings a referendum bill to the Dáil.

If that passes on schedule May 25th is a likely polling day. 

Leo Varadkar also confirmed last night he'll support the repeal side and campaign for allowing abortion without restriction for up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. 

Tánaiste Simon Coveney meanwhile took a different view. He told the cabinet that he will support repeal, but can't back the 12 week provision.

It means the two most senior politicians in government will be campaigning on different sides during the debate.

Leo Varadkar took a leaf out of the Clinton's book when saying he wanted to make abortion "safe, legal and rare." 

This is a line famously used by both Bill and Hillary Clinton during their careers when campaigning on abortion rights. 

Last night's announcement formally starts the referendum campaign, with both sides expected to now ramp up their arguments ahead of an historic vote. 


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