May 25 is the confirmed date for the Irish to vote on whether to retain their Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
Both houses of Parliament passed a bill to finalize the date, and the final vote happened Tuesday, the BBC reports. Lawmakers also approved a proposal to legalize abortions up to 12 weeks for any reason, should the referendum pass.
Ireland is under intense pressure to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protects unborn babies’ right to life. Abortion activists, backed by some of the world’s richest men, are pushing the pro-life country to legalize abortion on demand.
Health Minister Simon Harris, who wants to legalize abortion, praised the vote, News Australia reports.
“My message is if you can no longer accept thousands of women every year going abroad to access terminations, this is your time to right that wrong,” Harris said.
He recently proposed a bill that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and even later in a broad range of circumstances.
Here’s more on reactions to the vote:
Amnesty International welcomed the announcement, calling it “a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Ireland to put in place laws which respect the #humanrights of women & girls”.
Leaders from the Church of Ireland, an Anglican denomination, urged voters “to think through the issues involved carefully”.
“There is, for Christians, a very clear witness in the Scriptures that all human life, including before physical birth, has a sacred dignity in the eyes of God,” they said.
Pro-life groups have volunteers knocking on doors across Ireland to save the Eighth Amendment and unborn babies’ lives. They are up against a biased media and huge, illegal donations from American businessmen who are intent on pushing Ireland to adopt abortion on demand.
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While polls show modest support for repealing the Eighth Amendment, they also consistently show that most Irish voters do not want abortion on demand. A poll released earlier this week showed the pro-abortion side losing ground.
Some have been pushing for a referendum vote prior to Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, fearing that he could influence voters to support unborn babies’ right to life.