Bishops say repeal of 8th 'effectively says that unborn children do not exist' 

Update: Catholic bishops have issued a joint statement rejecting the government's proposal to repeal the 8th amendment.

The Irish Catholic Bishops Conference claims repeal would leave unborn children at the mercy of what it called "permissive abortion laws" in the future.

The bishops claim making abortion available would de-sensitise people to the value of human life.

In a statement, the bishops said removing the Eighth Amendment would be "a shocking step" which "effectively says that unborn children do not exist".

In cases of pregnancy due to rape or fatal foetal abnormalities, the bishops say the woman should have "the care and support of everyone around her".

4.03pm: Taoiseach requests Dáil to discuss Eighth Amendment bill on Friday

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has requested the Dáil sits on Friday to discuss the Eighth Amendment.

The Government is hopeful of introducing a bill to officially call a referendum on abortion on Thursday.

They are waiting for tomorrow's Supreme Court ruling on the rights of the unborn before publishing the bill.

The Taoiseach is eager for a debate on the issue to start this week as the Dáil is off next week.

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