Cabinet Agrees Draft Abortion Bill
The referendum on the Eighth Amendment is on track to take place on May 25 after Health Minister Simon Harris presented the Heads of the Bill to the Cabinet. If the Amendment is repealed it will be replaced with the sentence: "Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies."
The full bill is due to be published during the first week of March after further legal consultation, the Taoiseach told the Dáil, but Government sources said this is a formality and no changes are envisaged.
On the day of the referendum, citizens will be asked whether they wish to repeal the Eighth Amendment, also known as article 40.3.3. The subsequent proposed legislation describing the circumstances in which abortion would be legally permissible will be fully published only in the event of the referendum passing.
However, the Government will outline how it intends to change abortion laws in Ireland with a policy paper to be made available on March 6, over two months ahead of the poll. This paper will explain how Ireland's abortion laws will likely be altered including allowing unrestricted access to abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and without time limit on a range of specified grounds.
"Essentially it'll be a detailed policy paper on to how we transpose the (Committee on the Eight Amendment's) report into legislation," said a Government source.
Irish Independent. February 21.