Irish Committee votes to end 8th Amendment, supports abortion on demand up through 12 weeks

By Dave Andrusko

As foreshadowed in an informal vote last week, the Irish Parliamentary Committee on the Eighth Amendment today voted to recommend that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland [“Article 40.3.3”] be repealed and not replaced. The Eighth Amendment affords equal rights to mothers and unborn children. The vote was 14-6, according to Sarah Bardon of the Irish Times. (Catherine Noone, the chair, abstained.)

Members shortly afterwards voted to recommend language for next year’s abortion referendum that allows abortion throughout the first 12 weeks “where the life and health of a woman is at risk, with no distinction between mental and physical health.” That vote was 16-4.

A proposal put forward by Senator Lynn Ruane to allow abortion “if there is a risk to a woman’s health and where socio-economic considerations be taken into account” lost by one vote (emphasis added.

The committee’s report is due to be handed to the government on December 20.

The government will consider the proposals and Parliament will decide what language is included in the referendum which will take place next June or earlier. As he has previously Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said Wednesday he would like to call a referendum for next May.

As a basis for its discussion, the committee considered the recommendations from the “Citizens Assembly.” The assembly—and the Parliamentary Committee on the Eighth Amendment–came under blistering attack from pro-lifers.

In a story reposted by NRL News Today, The Life Institute compared the work of the Committee to a “lynch mob.” Niamh Uí Bhriain, the spokeswoman for the Life Institute, said, “This Committee was rigged to push abortion from the beginning, and acted like a lynch mob in refusing the preborn child any trial, any voice, or any fair representation before passing a death sentence on a helpless and vulnerable victim.”

She added that the pro-life movement in the Republic of Ireland was uniting to ensure that the “cruel and extreme recommendations of the Committee would be rejected by the people in the upcoming referendum.”