Coalition welcomes Cabinet’s first legislative step to Repealing the Eighth Amendment

The Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment welcomes the recent announcement that the first significant legislative steps to repeal the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution have been taken by Cabinet.

Commenting today, Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, said: “This is an important first step on the road to a referendum. The Eighth Amendment is a profound source of discrimination for women living in Ireland and we welcome these first concrete decisions to have it removed so that these discussions can take place where they belong – between women and their doctors.

“We are pleased that Government has broadly accepted the clear recommendations by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment that were the result of careful and patient engagement with legal and healthcare experts and represent a sensible solution to a problem that has resulted in decades of suffering and silence in this country.”

Ms Smyth continued: “We welcome the decision to legislate for the provision of abortion as part of a GP-led service for a period on request up to 12 weeks. This will provide for the majority of women who need abortions in Ireland. By ensuring that women’s lives and access to appropriate healthcare in later pregnancy are protected, the proposals will mean that medical professionals can provide the best and most compassionate care for women in very distressing and difficult circumstances.

Ms Smyth concluded: “These Government recommendations are a clear acknowledgment that it is time for us to stop pretending that abortions do not happen, and that we must deal with the lived reality of women’s reproductive health needs, including the need for abortion. We believe that once the electorate hears the same independent, evidence-based information that informed the Citizen Assembly and the Joint Oireachtas Committee, they will conclude that this is a sensible solution to women’s healthcare needs and support the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.”