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Ireland parliament committee to recommend limited legalization of abortion

[JURIST] A committee in Ireland's Houses of Oireachtas [official website] on Wednesday voted [video] to recommend that the full parliament repeal the country's Eighth Amendment [materials], which dictates that an unborn child and mother have an equal right to life.

The Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution [official website] considered numerous proposals [text, PDF] for inclusion in an eventual report to be delivered to the wider parliament suggesting changes to the country's strict abortion laws. Among those approved by the committee on Wednesday are allowance abortions before 12 weeks of gestation without limitation, decriminalization for both doctors and patients, the availability of abortions in the cases of rape and incest, and legal abortions where the life, health or mental health of the mother is at risk.

The Joint Committee, comprised of twenty members of Ireland's two legislative chambers, was established in April to consider recommendations put forward by the Citizen's Assembly [official website], which reported in June that 87% of the body's 99 citizen participants believed [report text] that the provision limiting abortion should not be retained in its entirety.

The Joint Committee is tasked with preparing a report for consideration by the Oireachtas, which will then draft a bill amending the constitution. Assuming such a bill passes both houses, it is to be voted on by popular referendum in 2018, as announced [JURIST report] by the Irish government in September.

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