On Friday, May 25, the Irish nation had to decide on the repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits abortion, except in case of danger of death for the mother. The yes won by 68% according to the first polls.
A historic decision. Ireland voted yes to the repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. The latter prohibits abortion, except in the case where the pregnancy puts the mother in danger of death. The 8th Amendment thus effectively prohibits any abortion by protecting the “unborn child” in the name of his or her right to life “equal to that of the mother”. This makes Irish legislation one of the most restrictive in Europe on abortion, with Northern Ireland and Malta.
Between 1861 and 2013, abortion was punishable by life imprisonment in Ireland. Since then, the sentence has come down to 14 years in prison. Each year, some 5,000 Irish women are forced to leave the UK at their own expense for an abortion or to order abortion pills online at their own risk.
Last Friday, May 25, however, the Irish had to vote in a referendum to decide the fate of the constitutional law. The yes won by 68% against 32% for the no, according to preliminary results. “It seems like we are writing a page of history,” tweeted center-right Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
“I’m falling asleep tonight with the hope of waking up in a more generous, caring and respectful country,” said health minister Simon Harris, who is very involved in the “yes” campaign. “. Very involved indeed, he did not hesitate to make long trips, spending some 20 hours on the plane, to vote in the referendum.
The Varadkar government’s bill provides that abortion may be performed without justification during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, up to 24 weeks in the event of a serious risk to the health of the mother and then only in the event of a fetal anomaly.