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NWCI welcomes broad recognition that the 8th amendment does not work

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017

As the Citizens’ Assembly voted to replace Art. 43.3.3. of the Irish Consitution with a new constitutional provision that would give exclusive powers to the Oireachtas to legislate on this matter, the National Women’s Council of Ireland welcomed the recognition that change is needed to respond to the needs of women.

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“NWCI acknowledges the time, effort and dedication that the Citizen’s Assembly put into their deliberations, and welcomes the fact that 87% of members agreed that the 8th amendment needs to go. It is also positive that the Citizens Assembly believes that the Oireachtas should be given exclusive power to legislate on this matter which is an important step to providing greater access to reproductive rights for women in Ireland.”

She continued,

“We are, however, very concerned that the process was unfortunately confusing and over emphasised the legal uncertainty in case of a clear vote for repeal. We also believe that it is extremely important for the Citizens Assembly to consider the health of women and their right to bodily autonomy more broadly in their deliberations and vote tomorrow.”

Orla O’Connor concluded,

“Women decide to continue or not to continue a pregnancy for any number of complex reasons. An exceptions based model in the constitution continues to put women’s lives and health into boxes, and it is likely that the majority of women, including the most marginalised and disadvantaged women, would be forced to continue travelling abroad to access abortion healthcare. Providing for early medical abortion on request in Ireland is a means of responding to the evident needs of women, removing the stigma, shame and other burdens of the current system. It would remove cumbersome and unwieldy criminal sanctions against women and medical professionals. It would provide for access to abortion to women in particularly vulnerable positions in a manner that protects their dignity, privacy and bodily autonomy. Where a wanted pregnancy becomes a crisis pregnancy by becoming a risk to her health, or due to a diagnosis of fatal foetal anomaly, provisions should be made for later-term terminations.”