FIRST AIRED: January 30, 2018

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00:00:01
>> In a chance to change some of the world's strictest abortion laws, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar plans to hold a referendum in May on allowing terminations up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. Abortion is all but banned in Ireland. Since 2013, it has been possible but only when the mother's life is in danger.
00:00:20
This is a divisive issue in a once stridently catholic country. Most voters want a referendum, says Reuters Padraic Halpin in Dublin. Still a heated debate is bound to rage in the coming months.>> The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said at the weekend that he will campaign in favor of liberalizing Ireland's abortion laws.
00:00:39
And I think, In Ireland it's always been quite a divisive debate and Varadkar's Fine Gael party, there are some conservatives members. So I think it will be a fairly fine line for him.>> Ireland has witnessed a wave of social change. In 2015, it became the first country in the world to adopt gay marriage by referendum.
00:01:02
Pro-choice campaigners fear those against the abortion proposal are more likely to vote, so they've been pushing for a May ballot to maximize the student votes.>> I feel like if you look at the opinion polls at the moment, it's showing the majority in favor of liberalizing the laws in favor of the 12 week abortion regime.
00:01:19
A big majority of the younger voters in favor, and older voters, less so. Two things to look out for in this referendum will be the turnout, I mean, how many young people actually come to vote, and also where those undecideds go.>> An exact date will be fixed in the coming weeks.