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The Fine Gael-led administration is meeting on Monday to discuss the terms of the referendum to abolish the eighth amendment of the Irish constitution.

That followed recommendations from members of Ireland's Citizens' Assembly to liberalise the law on terminations.

Terminations are now only allowed when the life of the mother is at risk, with the maximum penalty for accessing an illegal abortion is 14 years in prison.

However, the Government is expected to outline proposals for a potential law change that it would put before the Dáil in the event of the Eighth Amendment being repealed.

A new constitutional clause empowering the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion will not prevent challenges being taken in the Supreme Court to any future legislation, the attorney general will advise the cabinet tomorrow.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who revealed over the weekend that he will campaign to liberalise abortion laws, is expected to set out his stance in detail after the meeting. The public will not vote on the specifics of how the law will change.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has agreed to work on legislation for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks should the referendum pass.

In the latest Irish Times/MRBI opinion poll the majority of voters say they will back the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and support the introduction of abortion on request up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.

Varadkar's own party is split over what is arguably the most contentious issue in Irish politics.

"I am convinced that if we concede any ground on abortion, the very same arguments which are now being used to justify abortion will be used to justify ending the lives of frail, elderly people and people with significant disability", Doran said.

The Cabinet met for four hours tonight to decide on an approach to potentially repealing the Eighth Amendment.


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