Ireland Grapples with the Thorny Issue of Repealing an Abortion Ban

Jennifer Duggan / Dublin, Ireland @jenniduggan

October 27, 2016

A young, secular population helped pass same-sex marriage in Ireland last year and wants abortion restrictions overturned — but the fight is proving bitterly divisive

Ninety-nine Irish citizens from across the country travelled to the center of Dublin on a recent Saturday to begin an unusual exercise in democracy. Known as the Citizens’ Assembly, the randomly selected group has been tasked with discussing and making recommendations on one of the country’s most contentious and politically and socially divisive issues — its restrictive abortion laws.

Sitting in rows amid gold columns in the royal blue grandeur of the hall where Ireland’s presidents are inaugurated, they were thanked by Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Enda Kenny for their “civic generosity and courage” for taking part in the forum that will consider a matter “deeply complex, hugely challenging and profoundly ethical.”

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