Ireland Moves Closer to Repeal of Eighth Amendment

The Oireachtas’ Joint Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution has made its final report, recommending the complete repeal of its namesake constitutional amendment that currently supports the country’s near-total ban on abortion. In addition to the repeal, the committee has recommended the decriminalization of abortion and a number of legislative goals including termination without restriction up to 12 weeks into pregnancy and abortion without restrictions or time limits for cases of fatal fetal abnormality. The committee has also recommended establishing access to free contraception and improving sex education in schools. The committee chair, Senator Catherine Noone, recognized the groundwork of the Citizens’ Assembly on the eighth amendment, saying, “What is clear to me is that two inclusive processes—one made up of citizens, the other of politicians—have now concluded their deliberations and have both recommended a change in our constitution, some access to terminations and a greater focus on women’s health and experience.” The report will be debated by the Oireachtas in the next legislative session, and Ireland will hold a referendum in summer 2018 on whether to repeal the eighth amendment.

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