Ireland’s new prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has just announced that a referendum will take place in Ireland sometime in 2018 on the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution, which gives equal rights to a pregnant woman and her fetus. He has tasked the Minister of Health, Simon Harris, with the responsibility for bringing forward the legislation and setting a date as soon as possible.
Simon Harris said recently to the Irish Times, in response to the case heard by the UN Human Rights Committee this year (reported below) that it was his belief the issue of fatal fetal anomalies should be addressed by the Government. They quoted him as follows: “I have met with families who have been through the trauma of knowing their baby will not survive and I have been very moved by hearing of their experiences. There can hardly be a more difficult situation for a woman who is pregnant to face than to be told by her doctor that her unborn child is not fully healthy and well, and is not likely to survive.”
Now, however, the wider issue of abortion law reform is on the agenda.