>> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.