Notes and Changes

This event is part of the 'Abortion in Context: Law, Ethics, and Practice' seminar series, which runs every week this term.

Refreshments will be available after the discussion.



The 8th Amendment to the Irish Constitution (1983) is the context and the basis for one of the most repressive abortion law regimes in Europe. Irish women have found ways to mitigate its excesses, but those methods require resources, risk, and support, put medics and women in precarious positions, are inaccessible to many, and are ultimately unsustainable. In recent years, a sustained and organised campaign to ‘Repeal the 8th’ has emerged, designed to pressurize government to put a new amendment to the People so that the “right to life of the unborn” would be removed from the Constitution and a workable abortion law regime introduced. In this paper, I outline the possible routes and impediments to repeal, critically considering the importance of context and the particularities of Irish ‘abortion exceptionalism’ to the potential for success in any referendum.