Europe

Irish health minister says abortion laws 'too restrictive'

Leo Varadkar Image copyright RTE
Image caption Leo Varadkar said the government would not support the proposed amendment.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has told the Irish parliament (Dáil) he believes the country's abortion laws are "too restrictive".

The minister was responding to a private member's motion tabled by independent representative (TD) Clare Daly.

It sought to remove the clause in the Irish constitution equating the lives of a mother and her unborn child.

Dr Varadkar said the government would not support the proposed amendment.

However, he said it was his considered view as a medical doctor and as minister for health, that the eighth amendment, which bans abortion, was too restrictive.

The minister said that while the law protected the right to life of the mother, it had no regard for her long-term health, saying it forced couples to bring to term a child that had no chance of survival for long outside the womb.

Moving the motion on 16 December, Ms Daly said it was regrettable that the government could not include the provision for repealing the eighth amendment alongside the constitutional referenda planned for 2015.

"It's an issue which affected ten women today, ten women yesterday, and ten women tomorrow who are forced to take journey out of these shores for a routine medical treatment in other countries", she said.

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