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Repealed the Eighth

02 July 2018
12 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 7

Abstract

As an Irish midwife who has experienced both sides of the abortion debate, Maeve O'Connell has a unique insight into recent events in Ireland. She explains what the referendum result meant to her

The 26 May 2018 was a historic day for the women of Ireland and for the nurses, midwives and doctors who care for them. Following a democratic referendum, the people of Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution by a two-thirds (67%) majority, after a 64% turnout. This means that accessing abortion before 12 weeks' gestation is no longer a crime in Ireland. Box 1 illustrates the 36th Amendment, which has been proposed to replace the Eighth.

The 36th Amendment will replace the Eighth and states that ‘Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.’

Article 40.3.3, also known as the Eighth Amendment, was voted into the Irish Constitution by referendum in 1983. It stated that:

‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right’.

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