Historic vote: Ireland sets abortion referendum for May 25 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Historic vote: Ireland sets abortion referendum for May 25

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FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2002 file AP photo, officials take a break during the counting of votes in central Dublin as the Irish government concedes defeat in the referendum on the amendment to the abortion law by 49.5% to 50.43%. FILE - In this Thursday, March 7, 2002 file AP photo, officials take a break during the counting of votes in central Dublin as the Irish government concedes defeat in the referendum on the amendment to the abortion law by 49.5% to 50.43%.

LONDON (AP) -- Ireland will hold a referendum May 25 on whether to lift a constitutional ban on most abortions.

Voters will be asked whether they want to retain the eighth amendment to Ireland's constitution, which greatly limits abortion, or repeal it and make parliament responsible for making abortion laws.

The referendum date was announced Wednesday.

The 1983 amendment commits authorities to defend equally the right to life of a mother and an unborn child, giving the largely Roman Catholic nation the strictest abortion restrictions in Europe.  Abortion is legal only in rare cases when a woman's life is in danger.

Several thousand Irish women travel each year to get abortions in neighboring Britain.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said he plans to support a repeal of the constitutional ban.

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