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Taoiseach Aiming To Liberalise Abortion Laws

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The Taoiseach will be campaigning for the liberalisation of Ireland's abortion laws in the upcoming referendum.

Leo Varadkar gave the first indication of his stance in an interview with BBC Radio 4 this morning.

After noting earlier this month that he views Ireland’s current laws as "too restrictive;" he confirmed this morning he will be “campaigning for them to be changed and to be liberalised.”

He confirmed his view on this issue have changed since he told the Dáil in 2014 that he considered himself to be pro-life:

“My own views on this matter have evolved,” he said.

“I think sometimes the term pro-life and pro-choice can be misunderstood.

“I think even people who are in favour of abortion in certain circumstances are pro life.

"I still believe in life but I understand there are circumstances under which pregnancies can't continue."

Complexity

He refused however to define himself as ‘Pro-choice.’

“What do those words even mean?” he asked.

“Every single person I know who says they are pro-choice believes in some sort of restriction.

“These terms pro-life and pro-choice do not really comprehend the complexity of this issue which is a very private and personal one – and one I think that contains a lot of grey areas.

Mr Varadkar has come in for heavy criticism for his failure to make his position on the issue clear since the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment delivered its final report late last year.

The committee recommended that the Eighth Amendment be removed from the constitution – and abortion made available without restriction up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

His BBC interview this morning comes just days before a special Cabinet meeting on Monday night.

The meeting is expected to give the formal go-ahead for a referendum and to decide to insert a clause enabling the Oireachtas to legislate for the termination of pregnancy.


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