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Trudeau: abortion should be a ‘human right’ in Ireland

Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach of Ireland left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau middle, and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre right, walk along Boulevard Rene-Lvesque during the Pride parade in Montreal, Quebec (PETER MCCABE/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told his Irish counterpart that abortion in Ireland should be a “human right”.

At a three-day meeting between Mr Trudeau and Leo Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach, the two leaders spoke about Mr Varadkar’s plan to hold a referendum next year to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution, which protects the right to life of the unborn child.

“We discussed the issue of abortion, which I know is an important issue for a lot of campaigners for women’s rights in Canada,” the taoiseach said.

“I updated the prime minister on our plans to have a referendum next year to give the people of Ireland the opportunity to remove our constitutional ban on abortion, should they wish to do so.”

Asked whether he had any advice for Mr Varadkar, Mr Trudeau said so-called “reproductive rights” were a fundamental human right.

“On the issue of reproductive rights, I shared our perspective that reproductive rights for women are integral to women’s rights in general and women’s rights are human rights and I encouraged him to look at it as a question of fundamental rights for women and we had a good discussion on that,” the Canadian Prime Minister said.

Canada has one of the laxest abortion regimes in the world, with women able to terminate their pregnancies at any stage up to birth for any reason.

Mr Trudeau’s comments are the latest case of foreign intervention in Ireland’s abortion debate.

Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Council said Ireland’s tight abortion laws violate human rights in a similar ruling to that of European Court of Human Rights in 2010.

Previous Irish governments have defended their laws, saying they are based on “profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society”, however the present government is seeking to overturn them.