Irish women subject to UK abortion law without vote for change, says Coveney

Irish women are subject to British abortion law unless people vote to return powers to their own country, the Irish deputy premier said.

Thousands of women travel from Ireland to the UK every year because they face some of the most restrictive rules in Europe at home.

Ireland goes to the polls in just over a week for a referendum on overturning the Eighth Amendment of the constitution which effectively outlaws terminations unless a mother's life is in danger.

Simon Coveney said a yes vote would be a reflection of reality in Ireland.

"The laws that apply to abortion for women is British abortion law.

"Thousands of women every year are given a piece of paper in Ireland with an address on it telling them where to go but not here thank you very much and I am not willing to stand over that any more and that is why I am arguing for yes."

He said he wanted voters to base their decision on facts, not posters or listening to horror stories from opponents of change.

"Abortion is a reality in Ireland, the choices that women make in my view are being made without our health system and doctors supporting them."

He said it was a time of real vulnerability for women.

The proposed abortion law in Ireland would see the procedure allowed up until 12 weeks and in exceptional cases between 12 and 24 weeks.

The poll takes place on May 25.

Mr Coveney said many people who were still undecided recognised the need for change.

A recent opinion poll published by the Irish Times has found that those in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment had a large but reduced lead.

Meanwhile, Irish Nobel Laureate William Campbell was one of 1,200 scientists backing repeal.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2015 for his work in curing river blindness.

A letter from the scientists said: "The Eighth Amendment was inserted on a wave of negative emotions; let it be washed away by a flood of reason, evidence and compassion."

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