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Ireland’s opposition leader changes mind on abortion

Irish opposition leader Micheál Martin said he changed his mind and is now in favor of liberalizing ..

Irish opposition leader Micheál Martin said he changed his mind and is now in favor of liberalizing the country’s strict anti-abortion laws.

“There were two things that changed my mind on the issue. The first was hearing evidence before Christmas from women who suffered from fatal fetal abnormalities while pregnant,” he told the Guardian in an interview on Sunday.

“After hearing their experiences in the Oireachtas [Irish parliament] and what they had to go through traveling to England for terminations, I realized I could no longer countenance supporting the status quo,” he added.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Cabinet formally backed holding a referendum to repeal the eighth amendment to the Irish Republic’s constitution, which prohibits abortion, in late May. Health Minister Simon Harris is expected to start drafting legislation to present to the Cabinet in the early spring.

Harris also said recently he will allow general practitioners to conscientiously object to providing abortions at their clinics.

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