The Citizens' Assembly is hosting a formal debate between pro-life and pro-choice speakers this afternoon, as the assembly continues to reconsider Ireland's controversial constitutional restrictions on abortion.
Today's meeting is the second of four that will focus on how the 100 randomly selected members should advise government legislators later this year, on the future of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.
The randomly selected members will hear talks from academics and medical, legal and ethical practitioners on various topics including fatal foetal abnormalities.
"It is lawful to give info on abortion, illegal to promote abortion – this is the situation we're in" – Dr. McParland #citizensassembly
— London-Irish ARC (@LdnIrishARC) January 7, 2017
Ireland’s Catholic Bishops and the pro-life side have both criticised the assembly's use of the term "fatal foetal abnormalities" in its agenda for the meeting.
A bishops' spokesperson told RTÉ that the term normalises abortion and de-personalises the life of the foetus.
Individual case studies will also be discussed, including that of Amanda Mellet who received €30,000 in compensation from the Irish Government, after the United Nation's Human Rights Committee ruled that Ireland's ban on abortion was "cruel and inhuman".
— Ros Breathnach (@Rossjwalsh) January 7, 2017
Over 13,000 public submissions were made to the Citizens' Assembly ahead of the meetings, after online campaigns from both sides encourage the public to get involved.
The proceedings will be streamed on citizensassembly.ie.