WHATEVER YOU THINK ABOUT ABORTION TAKE A MOMENT TO CONSIDER WHAT THE 8TH REALLY IS
The 8th Amendment guarantees that everyone is treated equally, valued equally and protected equally. It ensures that all lives matter, not just some. We should be proud that it has saved over 100,000 Irish lives in the last 35 years.
What is the 8th Amendment all about?
The 8th Amendment is one of the most progressive laws we have. It protects the equal rights of all human life, whether male or female, rich or poor, able-bodied or disabled.
"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."
There are some who suggest that the wording of the 8th Amendment may put a mother's life at risk. This is fundamentally untrue however. Our abortion laws were changed in 2013 to make it legal to terminate a pregnancy in Ireland should it be necessary to protect the mother's life.
The 8th Amendment has one effect only, it prevents elective abortions. It does not restrict doctors from acting to provide medical care to a woman should a complication arise during pregnancy.
Where did it come from?
The 8th Amendment was made a part of our Constitution in 1983. It was approved by referendum; passing by an overwhelming majority of 67% of the electorate.
The issue was raised over concerns that future abortion campaigns would try to strip away the rights of the unborn in a similar manner to the Roe vs Wade decision in the US. There were legitimate fears that a similar case in Ireland may introduce abortion here without the say of the people.
WHAT DOES THE 8TH AMENDMENT DO?
The 8th Amendment protects the right to life of all Irish people, and ensures that we are equal before the law. It protects the life of the unborn as far as practicable to do so, but also guarantees that women are entitled to any treatment necessary to protect their lives also.
At a political level, it prevents politicians from introducing and changing Ireland's abortion laws without public approval. Any changes to our constitution must be approved in a referendum. Without the 8th Amendment, we would be putting an enormous amount of trust in our politicians.