Eighth Amendment a "constitutional straight-jacket" for women, minister says

Fine Gael have launched their push for a Yes vote

Eighth Amendment a "constitutional straight-jacket" for women, minister says

Taosieach Leo Varadkar, Ministers Josepha Madigan and Simon Harris at Fine Gael's Together4Yes campaign launch | Image via @campaignforleo on Twitter

Updated: 13.30

The Eighth Amendment is a constitutional straight-jacket for women, according to a Cabinet minister.

Josepha Madigan has called for repealing the article as Fine Gael launched their campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming abortion referendum.

Minister Madigan, Fine Gael's campaign coordinator, says the next five weeks will lead to a defining moment for the country when people take to the polls.

She says the constitution is not the place to deal with abortion.

"In the time since the Eighth Amendment was introduced, we have seen repeatedly that it is deeply flawed.

"However well intentioned its insertion was, it has proven to be nothing but a constitutional straight-jacket for doctors - and as a consequence of that a straight-jacket for women who face, and continue to face, crises pregnancies".

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says it is incumbent on people who want a Yes vote in the abortion referendum to get out there and make the case to voters.

Mr Varadkar has launched the campaign for Fine Gael members who want the Eighth Amendment to be repealed.

Image supplied to Newstalk.com

He has addressed an event at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin - along with Health Minister Simon Harris and Minister Madigan.

In a tweet, Mr Varadkar stated: "A Yes vote does not mean there will be no restrictions. There will be a waiting period of 72 hours for reflection & counselling. Terminations beyond 12 weeks will remain illegal except in very specific circumstances. Late term abortions will be illegal".

The Taoiseach began canvassing in his own constituency on Friday night.

He said: "I really think what's incumbent now on all of us who want a Yes vote is to go out there, talk to people, and to explain to people why a Yes vote is the right thing to do.

"Why we should become a country in which we trust women and trust doctors to make the right decisions when it comes to crisis pregnancies - and a country in which we don't send women on the boat anymore".

Meanwhile, a group of prominent GAA players have come out in support of a No vote in the referendum.

The 'GAA Athletes for No' group includes Tyrone manager Micky Harte, Meath's Joe Sheridan and All-Ireland camogie winning Antrim captain Aoife Cassidy.