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9th March 2018, 13:07:25 UTC

Amnesty International has welcomed the legislative framework set out in the government’s ‘Policy Paper’, following the introduction of the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 to Dáil Éireann today. The Policy Paper on Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy outlines the sort of legislation the government would seek to enact should the referendum be passed. It closes mirrors the framework proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly and Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

“Today is yet another historic milestone towards women’s equality in Ireland. After 35 years of an almost complete ban on abortion in Ireland, it is heartening to see the momentum that has built over the past year. The legislative framework outlined today would broadly realise women’s rights, and meet the State’s human right obligations. The Minister for Health and the government are to be commended for the expansive framework set out here. Providing access to medical abortion on request in early pregnancy, and in later pregnancy in additional circumstances, is the minimum needed to respect and fulfil women’s human rights. We welcome the approach taken in this policy paper. The many months of dedicated work by the Citizens’ Assembly and Joint Oireachtas Committee reviewing evidence and seeking solutions has paid off.

“The Eighth Amendment remains the core impediment to the introduction of human rights compliant abortion legislation in Ireland. If passed by the people, this referendum would permit the Oireachtas to enact this legislation. The day is in sight when the daily violations of women’s human rights finally ends. A ‘Yes’ vote in this referendum will be a vote for women’s equality and dignity. The Eighth Amendment is blight on women’s lives and health. 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. It is vitally important that we get facts and information to the electorate. It is time for a national conversation based on evidence and truth, and grounded in the lived experience of women,” said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.