ICCL calls on Oireachtas to Take up the Mantle for Repeal
Dublin, 23 April 2017
This weekend the Citizens’ Assembly on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution concluded with an historic set of decisions by members in favour of abortion law reform. The members voted overwhelmingly by 87% to 13% that change was needed to Ireland’s abortion laws and that the Eighth Amendment (Article 40.3.3) should be removed.
Members recognised explicitly the responsibility of the Oireachtas to enact laws on abortion and made other suggestions around the framing of any future legislation.
Welcoming the results in Malahide this afternoon, ICCL Deputy Director, Deirdre Duffy, stated,
“We already know that Irish people want to see the Eighth Amendment removed and access to abortion services in Ireland brought into line with international medical practice. Now, this has been cemented by the vote of the Assembly and demonstrates that a public consensus has emerged on access to abortion in Ireland”.
“The real story today is that Assembly members told the Oireachtas that Irish women would be best served by an abortion regime which allows doctors and women to make decisions based on the needs of women themselves. 64% of members voted for abortion law reform which would allow a woman to access abortion services without having to prove a risk to her health or life. In fact, 72% of members recognised the different situations in which women find themselves and voted for access to abortion for socio-economic reasons”.
The result paves the way for a Special Joint Oireachtas Committee to concretely consider how access to abortion would be regulated should a referendum result follow the views of the Assembly.
“Our legislators must now take up the mantle and demonstrate real political leadership by considering how access to abortion in Ireland would be regulated should the Eighth Amendment be removed”, Duffy stated.
She continued, “These discussions should be framed by medical and healthcare policy, and international best practice. Any legislation or policy proposals must ensure, at a minimum, that Ireland will be in a position to meet its international human rights obligations. Time after time, the Irish State has been criticised internationally for its failure to call a referendum on the Eighth Amendment, thereby facilitating the ongoing violation of the human rights of women in Ireland. Following today’s Assembly results, there is no reason why a timeframe for the holding of a referendum cannot be established without delay”.
The ICCL looks forward to the publication of the terms of reference of the Committee and urges politicians to work across party lines and demonstrate their commitment as legislators to protect the human rights of women in Ireland.
“To avoid any legal uncertainties or confusion during the Oireachtas Committee deliberations, international human rights law and standards should be drawn upon to inform the Committee’s recommendations to Government”, Ms Duffy concluded.
Contact ICCL Communications at 087-9981574, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors: Full results of today’s votes can be found at