THE CATHOLIC Church has asked the people of Ireland to ensure the 'equal right to life' of a mother and her unborn child 'remains unchanged' in the upcoming referendum.
The plea comes after An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced Ireland will have a referendum on the lifting of the constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland in May this year.
According to Christian Today, the Catholic Communications Office of the Irish Bishops' conference said: "Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland has a particular vision which is based on respect for the right to life of every person.
"The Catholic Church believes that human life is sacred from conception until natural death and that Article 40.3.3 reflects the appropriate balance of rights.
"Bishops ask the people of Ireland to ensure that this equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child should remain unchanged in our Constitution."
The Eighth Amendment recognises the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child, creating a constitutional recognition of an unborn child's life and so makes it impossible for any government to introduce legislation allowing for terminations in the womb except in exceptional circumstances, for example, when the mother's life is in danger.
Last night, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "We know that thousands of Irish women - from every county in Ireland - go abroad for abortions every year.
"We know that many women are obtaining abortion pills through the post to end their pregnancies.
"So we have abortion in Ireland, but it is unsafe, unregulated and illegal.
"We cannot continue to export our problems, and import our solutions.
The Taoiseach added: "The question has to be a Yes or No one; do we reform our abortion laws or not?
"I will advocate for a Yes vote. My own views on abortion have evolved over time. Life experience does that.
"As Taoiseach, as a medical doctor, as the former Minister for Health, I don't believe we can persist with a situation whereby women in crisis are risking their lives through the use of unregulated medicines.
"And I don't believe the constitution is the place for making absolute statements about medical, moral and legal issues.
"An issue which is not black and white, cannot be explained in black and white," he said.