Campaigning due to start in 8th amendment referendum

The people are to vote on the issue on Friday May 25th

Campaigning due to start in 8th amendment referendum

Photocall file photo

Campaigning is due to get underway on Thursday ahead of the abortion referendum.

On Wednesday, the Government announced a vote on whether the 8th amendment should be repealed will be held on May 25th.

Everyone is being encouraged to make sure they are registered to vote in order to have their say.

Health Minister Simon Harris is advocating a 'Yes' vote.

"My message to the people of Ireland is: this is your chance.

"If you can no longer accept that every year, thousands of women in this country have to go abroad to access terminations this is your chance to right that wrong.

If you can no longer accept that every year thousands of women - often in the privacy of their bedroom or their home without any medical supervision - are taking abortion pills this is your chance to right that wrong."

Minister Harris also welcomed the fact that the people will have the opportunity to have their say on "this deeply personal and private matter" by this summer.

"I think after weeks and months of politicians debating this issue and politicians talking to each other; committee hearings, Dáil debates, Seanad debate - now the people of Ireland get to have their say," he said.

Members of the public will be asked whether to repeal the amendment - which recognises the right to life of the unborn - and allow the Oireachtas to legislate on abortion.

The Dáil has approved the draft legislation that will be brought in if referendum is passed.

It will allow for abortion without restriction up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

Seventy-two hours will have to pass between a woman seeking an abortion and it being carried out.

After the first three months of pregnancy, terminations will only be allowed where there is a fatal foetal abnormality or a risk to the life or health of the mother.