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NWCI welcomes formal Cabinet commitment to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment

Published: Monday, January 29, 2018

NWCI welcomes the formal Government commitment today to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment and to draft legislation in line with the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment.

Eighth Amendment referendum

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI), said

“We welcome the formal Government commitment to hold a referendum on the Eighth Amendment today. This decision is the result of a growing understanding that the Eighth Amendment is a fundamental barrier to ensuring women and girls access to the healthcare services they need. It is an acknowledgement that the Constitution is no place for meeting the complexities of women’s needs in pregnancy and that we must allow doctors to apply best medical practice and care for all of their patients in this country without fear of prosecution.”

Draft legislation

Orla O’Connor continued,

“We also welcome the decision to draft legislation for the provision of abortion care in Ireland in line with the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee report on the Eighth Amendment. The recommendations provide the type of controlled change that people in Ireland will be looking for as part of the upcoming referendum. This includes a restricted period in early pregnancy, where a woman who needs an abortion can access care, strictly within the first 12 weeks, in the appropriate medical setting, and in close consultation with her doctor. During this period, each woman's reason for ending her pregnancy will be considered and doctor-patient confidentiality will be protected. Permitted reasons for later-stage abortions are strictly limited, and only considered for the purpose of protecting a woman’s mental or physical health or after the diagnosis of a fatal foetal condition.”

Enabling provision

Orla O’Connor continued,

“NWCI would have liked to see a simple, full removal of the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution without the insertion of any new wording. It is clear that the Government favours an enabling provision giving the Oireachtas the power to legislate for abortion following the advice from the Attorney General. We must now work to ensure that women’s voices and healthcare needs will be at the centre of discussions going forward. Every pregnancy is different, every decision is deeply personal. Women and girls in Ireland deserve their dignity. They deserve the right to privacy, family and home.”

Every Woman Healthcare Model

NWCI has developed the Every Woman healthcare model – Accessible, affordable healthcare options for all women and girls in Ireland. More information is available on www.everywoman.nwci.ie


For more information, please contact Silke Paasche, Head of Communications, NWCI, Tel. 085 858 9104, silkep@nwci.ie