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Ireland's abortion referendum

09 May 18

Ireland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union since the eighth amendment in 1983, which guarantees to protect the equal right to life of the unborn and the mother, and prohibits abortion in almost all cases. Although, abortion is technically legal in Ireland since The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed in 2013, allowing for abortion only if there is an imminent and substantial risk to a woman’s life, including suicide. 

If a woman is seeking an abortion due to being suicidal, she will have to submit to an assessment by up to 6 doctors. These doctors then have the power to decide if the woman will be allowed to have a termination.

Ireland’s ban on abortion could be ended with the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment on the 25th May 2018. After months of hearings, it recommended abortions should be provided in a range of circumstances including when a mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, and in the cases of rape and fatal foetal abnormalities. It also proposed abortion could be provided on socio-economic grounds. 

It is estimated at least 3000 Irish women travel to the UK each year for an abortion.