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Talking Europe

Abortion laws: Time to liberalise? Irish referendum sparks debate around Europe

On May 25, Irish citizens will vote in a highly emotional referendum - one that could liberalise the right to abortion by repealing the Irish constitution's eighth amendment. When the amendment was introduced 35 years ago, abortion was already illegal in Ireland – but the amendment further restricted the circumstances under which a pregnancy could be terminated. Today, abortion is only constitutional in Ireland where the mother's life is deemed to be at risk.

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The Irish government is backing the repeal. It’s signalled that it would introduce legislation to allow pregnancies to be terminated up to the 12th week. It’s a debate that’s pertinent in other parts of Europe too: Malta, Northern Ireland, Poland, as well as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino are all name-checked in a Council of Europe report as having highly restrictive laws.

On our programme we debate the key issues in the Irish referendum, and look at what role European institutions should be playing in the issues of family planning and maternal health.

A show produced by Isabelle Romero, Roxane Runel and Anaïs Guérard.

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