The Irish government has approved the wording that will appear on the ballot paper in May’s abortion referendum.
Voters will be asked whether they approve of the statement: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.”
If approved, the move would repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution, which guarantees equal rights for mothers and their unborn children, and pave the way for the government to radically liberalise the country’s abortion laws.
The decision comes just days after Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled that the unborn child has no constitutional rights other than the right to life, a decision pro-lifers say highlights the importance of defeating the referendum.
Professor William Binchy, legal advisor for the Pro Life Campaign, said the judgment “makes it all the more necessary to oppose the Government’s proposal to introduce abortion on demand.”
“The Court has made it clear that unborn babies, up to birth, would have no constitutional protection against the legislation that the Government intends to introduce,” he added.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar used International Women’s Day to announce the ballot wording, saying the referendum was about “trusting women to decide, in the early weeks of their pregnancy, what’s right for them and their families.”
However, the Pro Life Campaign criticised the government for “hijacking” the day to push for abortion.
Dr Ruth Cullen said: “Today should be a day about looking for ways to work together to find positive alternatives to abortion. It should be a day that we also celebrate the bond of mother and baby and challenge those in power to provide the necessary supports so that no woman ever feels she has no choice but to go down the road of abortion. Today should also be a day where we talk about the horror of gendercide and the millions of missing girls who were aborted for no other reason than because of their gender.
“Instead International Women’s Day 2018 is being used as part of the government’s choreography to introduce abortion on demand into Ireland. The way the day is being exploited is a total betrayal of women and their unborn babies.”