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The 8th amendment and the Irish abortion referendum

On the 25th of May, the Irish people will be asked to vote in a referendum to appeal the 8th amendment of their Constitution. The proposed change to the Constitution concerns the regulation of termination of pregnancy. Europa United has prepared this information in relation to the referendum. Europa United does not not advocate a vote regarding this referendum and has published this article for information purposes only. The information is provided by the The Referendum Commission which is an independent body set up under the Referendum Act of Ireland 1998. 

The background

Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, means that it is lawful for a pregnancy to be terminated only where the pregnancy poses a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother. This includes a risk of suicide. The proposal on 25th May is to delete Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution and to insert in its place that.

The article was inserted into the Constitution as a result of a referendum in 1983. The Article says that the unborn has a right to life and that the mother has an equal right to life. The Supreme Court has recently held that this is the only constitutional right of the unborn.

The present legal position is therefore that it is lawful for a pregnancy to be terminated only where it poses a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including a risk of suicide. This is determined in accordance with the 2013 Act. Otherwise, it is a criminal offence to intentionally destroy unborn human life.

The Present Article 40.3.3

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right. This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state. This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state.

The Proposed Article 40.3.3

Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.

Further information

There are a number of organisations and groups  currently campaigning for both a yes and no vote. We have listed some here but please note that many others exist .

For the Yes vote;

The Abortion Rights Campaign

Together for Yes Campaign

For the No vote;

Love Both Campaign

Save The 8th Campaign

Independent information;

The Referendum Commission

 

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