Available Open Access under CC-BY licence.
Irish law currently permits abortion only where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk. Since 1983, the 8th Amendment to the Constitution has recognised the “unborn” as having a right to life equal to that of the “mother”. Consequently, most people in Ireland who wish to bring their pregnancies to an end either import the abortion pill illegally, travel abroad to access abortion, or continue with the pregnancy against their will.
Now, however, there are signs of change. A constitutional referendum will be held in 2018, after which it will be possible to reimagine, redesign, and reform the law on abortion. Written by experts in the field, this book draws on experience from other countries, as well as experiences of maternal medical care in Ireland, to call for a feminist, woman-centered, and rights-based radical new approach to abortion law in Ireland.
Directly challenging grounds-based abortion law, this accessible guide brings together feminist analysis, comparative research, human rights law, and political awareness to propose a new constitutional and legislative settlement on reproductive autonomy in Ireland. It offers practical proposals for policymakers and advocates, including model legislation, making it an essential campaigning tool leading up to the referendum.
"Nuanced, detailed and clearly explained, even for laypeople like me. A map through the quagmire of Ireland’s reproductive laws” Tara Flynn, Comedian, Actor and Repeal the 8th Campaigner
"A quick and mandatory read for anyone seeking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the 8th Amendment.” Mara Clarke, Founder, Abortion Support Network.
"This text's novel proposals for Irish abortion law reform make it an essential read." Brid A Ni Ghrainne, Sheffield University
"An incisive, forensic and comprehensive analysis of the legal implications of the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution in 1983." Linda Connolly, Maynooth University
"This careful analysis of the 8th amendment, with its succinct roadmap for reform, should be compulsory reading for Irish legislators." Sandra McAvoy, Historian
"This concise critique cuts through decades of controversy with a compelling case for repeal and proposes a workable legislative solution. Bravo!" Ailbhe Smyth, Convenor, Coalition to Repeal the 8th
Fiona de Londras is Professor of Global Legal Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Mairead Enright is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Birmingham.
The case for repealing the 8th
The Constitution after the 8th
A rights-based approach to abortion
Accessing abortion care: principles for legislative design