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Speakers pictured at yesterday's meeting of the Citizen's Assembly. SAM BOAL/RollingNews.ie
Eighth Amendment

Citizens' Assembly given extra day to discuss abortion issue

The assembly is discussing issues around Ireland’s abortion laws.

Updated at 3.25pm

THE CITIZENS’ ASSEMBLY  has been given an extra day to discuss the issue of the Eighth Amendment of the constitution.

The chair of the assembly - Ms Justice Mary Laffoy – recommended to the 99 members in a private session that an additional weekend be set aside to discuss the issue.

This will bring to five the number of weekends during which the issue of abortion will be discussed.

“The Citizens’ Assembly is an exercise in deliberative democracy and we must endeavour to provide you, the citizens, with all the information you require to complete your task,” Ms Justice Laffoy said in a statement.

In considering feedback from Members and the range of issues to be covered, I concluded that an additional weekend on the Eighth Amendment was required in order to give full consideration to the issues identified.

Laffoy said the extra weekend would not affect her commitment to complete the report in respect of the Eighth Amendment within the first half of 2017.

Meeting

The 99 members of the Citizen’s Assembly yesterday heard from the different sides of the debate around the issue of abortion.

Doctor Peter McParland, the director of Foetal Maternal Medicine at the National Maternity Hospital, told the assembly about techniques around pre-screening techniques now available to pregnant women.

He spoke about abortions with regards to foetuses identified with a physical disability or learning disability, including Down syndrome.

The assembly also heard arguments in regards to the moral status of the unborn in society.

Today, the members of the assembly will be given 10 minutes to write anonymised notes to the chairperson, where they indicate how far they have come in their journey since last October when the assembly first met.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy will then synthesise these reports in public early this afternoon.

You can watch a livestream of proceedings on citizensassembly.ie

Read: ‘When the blood flows from abortion, Satan has his day’ – Citizens’ Assembly letters go online

Read: Citizens’ Assembly receives over 13,000 submissions about abortion

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