The American mainstream media has been largely silent about this, but there’s a fight over abortion rights going on in Ireland right now. Abortion has been illegal since 1861 when the Offences against the Person Act was enacted. Then, in 1983 the 8th Amendment passed a referendum vote and was written into their constitution, stating: “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.”
Next Friday, that could all change as citizens will be voting to either repeal or uphold the 8th. If they vote to repeal, they will also be allowing the government to legislate on terminations.
From the Independent:
If Ireland votes Yes, the existing article of the constitution which was inserted in 1983 – and the 1992 additions – will be replaced with this text:
“Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”
For its part, the government is proposing that it would legislate to permit abortion in cases where there is a risk to the life of the woman, a medical emergency or a fatal foetal abnormality, or up to 12 weeks without justification.
If the vote is no, the pro-life amendment will remain in place and abortion will still be illegal in Ireland.
Many believe it will pass and a high profile church bishop publicly stated he will be voting to repeal the 8th, saying “I will be voting for Repeal because I believe, as I did in 1983, that the text of the Eighth is incorrigibly flawed.”
Ireland has become more progressive in recent years, legalizing gay marriage in 2015.