Ireland Prepares for Referendum on Repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution

On March 9, the Irish government introduced its long-awaited bill to hold a referendum on the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution. The bill calls for the public to be asked whether they wish to repeal the amendment and replace it with a “provision [that] may be made in law for regulation of termina­tion of a pregnancy.” The wording of the bill was unanimously approved by the cabinet, and the govern­ment set May 25th as the date for the referendum vote. The bill was published alongside the government’s official policy report, which outlines the many changes to abortion provision in the country that the govern­ment hopes to legislate if there is a referendum in favor of repeal. The policy report includes calls for general access to abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, specific access in cases of fatal fetal abnormality and danger to physical or mental livelihood and the decrimi­nalization of abortions for women seeking abortions. Current polling suggests that a majority of Irish voters favor a repeal (56 percent) and that those in favor outnumber those opposed by nearly twofold (56 compared to 29 percent).

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