Limits needed if eighth amendment repealed, says Leo Varadkar

Varadkar defends Government position that a citizen’s assembly be held before a referendum

Term limits for abortion should be considered in the event of the eighth amendment to the Constitution being repealed, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said

Term limits for abortion should be considered in the event of the eighth amendment to the Constitution being repealed, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said

 

Term limits for abortion should be considered in the event of the eighth amendment to the Constitution being repealed, Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has said.

However Mr Varadkar defended the Government’s position that a citizen’s assembly should first take place before any decision is taken to hold a referendum on whether to repeal the eighth amendment, which guarantees the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn.

The Minister, speaking on Newstalk radio, agreed that his personal views could be characterised as wanting abortion law in Ireland liberalised, but not by too much.

“I’d certainly like to see things like term-limits, you know people use the term pro-choice but actually most people I know who are pro-choice want restrictions on choice written into the law, particularly around things like term-limits, but that’s the kind of conversation actually, if we decide to repeal the eighth, we’re going to have to have,” he said.

His comments come as Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil continue to resist pressure for an early referendum, with both parties committed to a consultative process before any decision is taken on how to proceed. Fianna Fáil favours a judge-led commission to examine the issue.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Committee demanded that the constitutional ban on abortion be lifted.

The mood in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, however, is to proceed with caution. Both intend to allow their TDs and Senators to have a free vote on abortion law if it comes before the Oireachtas.

Mr Varadkar said there are “very extreme” people on both sides of the debate.