LONDON (Reuters) — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Saturday that he would campaign for a liberalization of the country’s restrictive abortion laws ahead of a referendum in the coming months, adding that his views on the issue had evolved.
Varadkar’s government plans to hold the referendum as soon as May to loosen some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. His Fine Gael party has agreed to let individual members campaign on either side of the debate.
While the country remains overwhelmingly Catholic—a complete ban on abortion was only lifted in 2013—public opinion has reportedly become more socially liberal in recent years.
Varadkar, a medical doctor by training, in 2014 described himself as pro-life, but also said that the rules in Ireland, where terminations are only allowed in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, were too tight.