Referendum on eighth amendment set to go ahead following court ruling

Dean Simpson
March 11, 2018

The government earlier outlined what new laws they'd like to see, including abortion without restrictions for up to 12 weeks.

"We will not be able to address issues in relation to women who have had fatal fetal abnormalities in their pregnancy, in relation to women and girls who have been raped and abused in this country, to the fact that our daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, work colleagues could be using the abortion pill without medical supervision", Harris said.

It will say there should be abortion without specific indication for up to 12 weeks - meaning abortion will be allowed for any reason within the first trimester.

Cabinet unanimously approves eighth amendment referendum bill

Cabinet approved a referendum bill on Thursday and the Dáil will begin debating it this morning.

According to RTE, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "On my first day as Taoiseach I committed to holding a referendum this year".

Citizens will be asked whether they want to remove the Eighth Amendment, which gives equal right to life to the mother and the unborn, and replace it with wording that would allow politicians to set Ireland's abortion laws in the future.


"This work has so far established that provision of free access to contraception methods, which are now limited to those with eligibility through the Primary Care Reimbursement Services, would require enabling primary legislation", said Harris.

Mr Harris told the Dail he was mindful of the impact of the Eighth Amendment since it was inserted 35 years ago.

A change to the law would be a monumental step for Ireland, where since 1983 it has been estimated that 170,000 women have left the country to terminate pregnancies.


"I think what the Supreme Court did was it showed how lucky we are to have the Eighth Amendment".

"This referendum is about asking our citizens to allow women to make major decisions for themselves".

The bishops said in a statement: "We believe that the deletion or amendment of this article can have no other effect than to expose unborn children to greater risk and that it would not bring about any benefit for the life or health of women in Ireland. It is clear beyond any doubt from today's announcement from Government that a vote for repeal is a vote for abortion on demand up to birth", she added.


The debate on the controversial issue is due to resume after the St Patrick's Day week-long break on March 20.

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