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Debate the eighth

Ireland's government is turning the debate over its near-total abortion ban over to citizens

Ireland’s government is turning the debate over its near-total abortion ban over to citizens

Once dominated by Catholicism, Ireland has become significantly more secular. Gay marriage is legal, and the government has even considered decriminalizing drugs.

But abortion is still illegal.

Pro-choice groups in Ireland have long argued that the 8th Amendment to the Constitution – which equates the life of the unborn with the life of the mother – needs to be repealed. It became law in 1983, following a referendum. But the country’s pro-life groups are fighting to preserve the amendment.

Opinion polls in Ireland show a majority favor relaxing the law in some way but the Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, has instead created a ‘Citizens Assembly’ – a kind of jury made up of civilians appointed by the government. They’ll examine the existing legislation for several months before making recommendations to the government.

VICE News’ Hind Hassan travelled to Dublin to watch proceedings unfold.

This segment originally aired March 21, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO

M-F 7:30PM HBO