The Cabinet is meeting to sign off on the bill to hold a referendum on the 8th amendment.
It is also getting legal advice from the Attorney-General this morning on Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn.
The Attorney-General will brief the Cabinet but it is understood he has no concerns about yesterday’s Supreme Court, which found that the unborn have no rights under the Constitution outside of the 8th amendment.
Ministers will be asked to sign off on the Referendum Bill, which outlines what question will be asked to people in a vote.
That is likely to be along the lines of ‘To support removing Article 40.3.3 from the Constitution and allowing the Oireachtas to provide for terminations of pregnancy under law’.
Once that is signed off on, it needs to be approved by the Dáil and Seanad before a referendum date is set.
It is likely the Dáil will sit on Friday to debate it, and that is when we will get a policy paper from Government outlining what laws they want to bring in if the 8th amendment is repealed.
That will include allowing abortion without restriction for up to 12 weeks.
After that period, terminations will be allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormality – or where there is a risk to the life, health or mental health of the mother.
The mother will have to be assessed by two doctors in these cases
The Government is also considering a cooling off period, where a woman will have to wait two or three days after seeking an abortion to think it over before having the termination carried out.