There is no room for complacency on the part of the yes campaign in the Eighth Amendment referendum, according to Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Speaking at an event called 'Hear Me Out', which asks people affected by the Eighth Amendment to talk about and share their stories, Mr Harris was asked about today's Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll, which suggested a 16-point advantage for the yes side.

He said nothing could be taken for granted and decisions are made by those who "turn up" to vote and this referendum is a once in a generation opportunity.

Minister Harris called for respectful debate in the final week of the campaign and he expressed concern over "misinformation" and "statistics to confuse and create fog". 

"I look forward to working with those in the yes campaign to debunk some of that misinformation in the coming days", he said.

Speaking later on RTÉ's News at One, Mr Harris said it is "neither possible or desirable" to replace the Eighth Amendment, as the perplexity of crisis pregnancy requires "proper legislation rather than a few lines in the Constitution".

Minister Harris said that after debate with the Citizens' Assembly and legal experts, the Government had decided "rather than risk the repeated mistakes of the past and legal uncertainty" it wanted to legislate.

The minister also said that disability as a grounds for termination had been consciously excluded from the proposed legislation.

He cited medical advice of the masters of the maternity hospitals that while screening is possible for certain disabilities at nine or ten weeks' gestation, it is not a diagnostic tool and that takes a number of additional weeks and it is not a "realistic proposition" to have a certain diagnosis within 12 weeks. 

Meanwhile, LoveBoth which is calling for a no vote, analysed abortion laws in Belguim, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal and Switzerland, which it says have similar laws to those proposed by the Government.

Caroline Simons, who is the group's legal adviser, said if Ireland had the same average abortion rate as these seven countries, there would be 64,000 more abortions up to 2030. 

"This equates to 5,300 per year and more than 100 extra abortions per week", she said. 

She said when something is legalised it is normalised and almost inevitably becomes more common. 

Ms Simons said while LoveBoth's analysis could not take cultural shifts or other changes into account, she said England and Wales saw an increase in the number of abortions after the 1967 Act became law.  

Meanwhile, Together for Yes, which is calling for the Eighth Amendment to be repealed, launched its latest video of women and men who have experienced foetal anomalies in life-limiting circumstances.

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald, who attended the event, said that on 25 May people have to make a decision with "clarity and humility".

Speaking to the media with families affected by foetal anomalies, she said: "Those that say that families like this can be catered for within the confines of the Eighth Amendment are wrong, they're being deliberately misleading."

Elsewhere, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has said that to be against abortion is not simply "a Catholic thing".

In a pastoral message, Archbishop Eamon Martin warned that any repeal of the Eighth Amendment would pave the way for a very liberal abortion regime.

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin released a statement this morning explaining why he would be voting no in the referendum.

"It seems incongruous that just as medical science allows us to understand much more about the evolution of the baby in the womb and his or her originality and unique identity that we should simply throw out all constitutional protection of the unborn child. For that reason I will be voting No", he said.

The Prior of Lough Derg, the pilgrimage site, has called for prayers for the rejection of the Government's proposal to repeal the Eighth Amendment. 

In a statement, Fr La Flynn also asked people to pray for the parents of children still in the womb.

Meanwhile, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has reiterated a call on its 600,000 affiliated members in the country to vote for repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Addressing the Fórsa conference in Killarney, General Secretary Patricia King reminded delegates that the Congress Executive Council had endorsed calls for the removal of the Eighth Amendment, notwithstanding the position adopted by a number of affiliates.

She said the executive was urging members to take part in next Friday's referendum.

Separately, the former Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland Nuala O'Loan has said the removal of the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution may be in breach of the Good Friday Agreement.

Ms O'Loan, who is a member of the House of Lords, criticised the Government for not explaining how plans for the introduction of abortion would sit with Ireland's legal obligations under the agreement.

However, lawyers campaigning for a no vote have said that voters will not appreciate efforts by the no side to bring the Good Friday Agreement into the debate.

Peter Ward SC described Ms O’Loan’s comments as an "unfortunate and ill conceived move" by the no side to bring an agreement that had the overwhelming support of the people on a crucial and historic matter into play.

Additional reporting: Micheál Lehane, Joe Little, Ingrid Miley, Ailbhe Conneely