Repeal ref is coming - get ready for a long tough battle to win it


Irish pro-choice campaigners are celebrating - this is why... Abortion is highly restricted Ireland, thanks to an amendment inserted into our constitution in 1983. The government has said there will be a referendum on abortion next summer.

We didn’t know what the wording of the referendum was. We were worried that instead of having a straight vote to repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution (which restricts abortion) they would try and put new wording in the constitution which would give abortions in limited circumstances, and make it impossible to broaden the circumstances without a future referendum.

Yesterday a Government committee established to look at the shape of this future referendum held their final votes.

The first big thing about the vote yesterday is that the committee said that there should be a straight vote to repeal the 8th and abortion should be dealt with by laws and not in the constitution.

Now we still don’t have a wording for the referendum - that’s up to the government but it would be very difficult for them now to put anything other than a straight repeal on the table. This is the second government committee that has said there should be straight repeal.

The second big thing about the vote yesterday is that they made recommendations about what future abortions law should look like. We have a law that allows for abortion but it is incredibly restrictive. The committee said it should change.

They said abortion should be allowed up to 12 weeks for all. After 12 weeks they said abortion should be allowed the termination where the life or health of the woman is at risk and that a distinction should not be drawn between physical and mental health.

They also said that the the current penalty for having an abortion (14 years) should be removed and having an abortion should not be a criminal offense.

Again, the committee isn’t writing the law - that will be done by the government in advance of the referendum. But it does make it difficult for the government to reproduce the restrictions of the current laws (which is an horrific piece of law).

TLDR? We’ll be voting in May or June to repeal the 8th. Time to get ready for long tough battle.