Latest: Men urged to speak up in abortion debate; Sherlock warns Yes vote will hand issue 'entirely over to politicians'

Update 10.10am: Men are today being urged to have their say on the abortion referendum.

Pro-choice activists say men are reluctant to join the debate on the 8th Amendment - as its mainly seen as a woman's issue.

Former footballer Richie Sadlier - who is part of the Together for Yes campaign - said that it affects everyone.

"If men have a view that the society in which they live in and the one we want to create should be supportive and compassionate and caring to women who are sometimes in a crisis pregnancy, in really traumatic, vulnerable, distressing situations, well then removing this amendment, as it stands at the moment, is the right thing to do."

He added: "Men have been forced to travel with their partners overseas, they have lost partners to the 8th, their daughters have suffered this indignity without them even knowing in some cases.

"They have a huge role to play in this referendum and I’m asking them to inform themselves, read the literature, talk to their families and friends.

"I’m afraid that too many men don’t realise that they have a key role in this referendum. If they think they can stand on the sideline, they are really saying that the status quo is OK. Men need to respect and protect women by voting yes and recognise they are also saving men from the damaging effects of watching the 8th harming their wives, girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters."

Separately, Cora Sherlock of the LoveBoth campaign warned earlier today that repeal of the Eighth Amendment "will hand the issue of abortion entirely over to the politicians in the Oireachtas".

She added: "The [Health] Minister has already played his hand by showing us what he plans to introduce if he succeeds in winning the referendum; that is wide-ranging abortion without reason up to three months and beyond in vague and undefined circumstances, which goes even further than the law in England and Wales.

"The only way to stop this is Vote No on 25th May."

Pro Life campaign Cherish All The Children Equally will launch its Right2Life referendum campaign at 1.30pm outside the GPO on O'Connell Street in Dublin today.

Earlier: Referendum Commission issues independent guide to upcoming vote

A public information campaign has been launched by the Referendum Commission ahead of next month's vote on the Eighth Amendment.

It outlines the current legal position in relation to the termination of pregnancy, the proposed change, and the legal effect of both a Yes vote and No vote.

The Commission's independent guide is being sent to every home across the country - while information will also available on a dedicated website.

People are also been urged to check the electoral register to make sure they are on it and that their details are correct.

Today will see more campaign launches for both sides in the abortion debate.

Pro-life advocates will ask people to 'cherish all life equally' when they advocate for a 'No' vote outside the GPO this lunchtime, while pro-choice activists will encourage men to have their say.

- Digital desk

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