Amnesty International Ireland has welcomed the government’s approval of the referendum Bill on the Eighth Amendment. This referendum, if passed by the people, would remove the almost total constitutional ban on abortion put in place in 1983. The Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018, which must go to the Oireachtas for approval, will allow people in Ireland to vote on the removal of Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, and the insertion of a clause stating that “provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy”.
“Today is an important milestone on the journey towards women’s true equality. People in Ireland will soon have an historic opportunity to vote for the full repeal of the Eighth Amendment. Amnesty International will campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in this referendum. A ‘Yes’ vote will be a vote for women’s equality and dignity. The Eighth Amendment is blight on women’s lives and the state’s human rights record. Its removal will be a national statement that we value, respect and care for women. That we respect their right to make decisions about their health, their bodies, their families and their lives. Fittingly, the referendum Bill has been approved on International Women’s Day.
“People in Ireland know that the constitutional status quo is simply not acceptable, as it causes untold suffering and daily violations of women’s rights. The Eighth Amendment is a legacy of the State’s past suppression and control of women’s sexuality and reproduction. It has no place in a true Republic of equals and is entirely at odds with the values of today’s Ireland. The Citizens’ Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment showed what happens when people are given the facts and access to evidence about abortion and women’s reproductive rights. They see that abortion bans like Ireland’s do not stop abortions, and instead inflict harm and cruelty on women. It is time for a national conversation based on evidence and truth, and grounded in the lived experience of Irish women,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.
Amnesty International Ireland will today be joining the ‘Vote for Repeal’ march marking International Women’s Day. The organisation’s supporters and activists will join a broad coalition of organisations calling for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and expanded access to abortion.