Your Guide To The Referendum on the 8th

Information on the Government's Proposals for repealing the 8th amendment. READ MORE

What the Government proposes:

The Eighth Amendment is the only place in our Constitution where unborn babies have constitutional rights. For as long as it is in our Constitution, the law on abortion can only be changed by the people voting in a referendum.

Our Constitution allows termination of pregnancy where the life of the mother is threatened.

The Government propose to delete Article 40.3.3 (the 8th Amendment) and replace it with a clause that gives the Oireachtas total control to make laws on abortion.

This would give politicians the power to regulate abortion in the future without the need to refer to the people by way of referendum.

The Government's new wording in the Constitution:

If you repeal the Eighth Amendment the Government will replace it with the following wording:

"Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy."

This new article transfers control of regulating abortion from the Constitution to the Oireachtas where politicians have the power to introduce any legislation they want, no matter how liberal or extreme

The Government has published the new legislation they intend to introduce if the Eighth Amendment is repealed. This is called A Bill To Regulate Termination of Pregnancy" and it is available on the deparment's website.1

This is what a YES vote means:

If there is a Yes vote, this new legislation will mean:

Abortion will be legal for ANY REASON up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

If a baby is inconventient, if it is a girl and not a boy, if the timing is wrong--Abortion on demand for any reason whatsoever.

Abortion up to 6 MONTHS on vague "health" grounds

Repealing the Eighth Amendment will allow abortion up to "viability" (normally six months) on unspecified health grounds, including mental health. Perfectly healthy babies can be aborted on these grounds.

"It shall be lawful to carry out a termination of pregnancy … where a medical practitioner certifies, that … the pregnancy concerned has not exceeded 12 weeks of pregnancy."
(Bill to Regulate Termination of Pregnancy)
"It shall be lawful to carry out a termination of pregnancy … where 2 medical practitioners certify that … 1. (a) there is a risk to the life of, or of serious harm to the health of, the pregnant woman, 2. (b) the foetus has not reached viability… "
(Bill to Regulate Termination of Pregnancy)

What rights will the Unborn have if there is a YES vote?

Repealing The Eighth Amendment Removes All Constitutional Rights From The Unborn

The Supreme Court ruled last February that the Eighth Amendment is the only place in the Constitution where unborn babies have rights.

If you abolish the Eighth Amendment, politicians will have a blank cheque to introduce even more liberal laws without consulting the people

Unborn babies at all stages during pregnancy will have no constitutional rights, and you will never have a say on this again.

What does a NO vote mean?

Abortion on demand will not be legalised in Ireland and late term abortions will not be carried out in this country.

The current regulations allowing doctors to save the life of the mother remain in force.

You retain the power to decide such matters in the future and any changes to the law will remain a matter for the people.

Both Mother AND Baby will continue to be protected under our Constitution and you will retain YOUR SAY on Irish abortion law.

Abortion clinics will not open in Ireland and we will protect vulnerable women and children with disabilities from the abortion industry.

Support the Plan for Life Alternative

A NO vote means the Government will be forced to consider the alternatives to abortion which the No campaign have developed around Plan for Life ( This plan focuses on eight positive reasons to Vote No and improve on the Eighth Amendment.

1  Specialised Training for all health Professionals.

2  Clear legal and medical guidelines around intervention in pregnancy.

3  Additional financial support for new mothers

4  Connecting tax and welfare system to enable fathers to support their children and their mothers.

5  Free childcare from birth.

6  Pregnancy support centre in every large town.

7  A new state adoption agency.

8  A free 'Baby Box' for new parents.

To learn more, visit:

How does this new law compare to England?

The new legislation proposed by the Government is almost identical to the Abortion Act 1967 which is in place in the uK. In England this has led to:

1 in 5 of all pregnancies in England are aborted.2

90 percent of all babies with Down Syndrome are aborted.3

The number of abortions sky-rocketed in the 5 years after the Abortion Act was introduced.4

Cancer Treatment in Pregnancy

Under our existing laws, if a woman is diagnosed with cancer or another life-threatening illness while she is pregnant, our doctors have a legal duty to provide any life-saving treatments necessary regardless of the effect on her unborn child.

Put simply, women who are diagnosed with cancer while pregnant can immediately begin chemotherapy treatment. Her doctor's primary concern must always be to save her life, while also doing everything possible to also save the life of her baby.

For more information, please see:

What Doctors say:

"I have delivered almost 5,000 babies and not on one occasion was I ever prevented from protecting a woman's life because of the 8th Amendment."
Dr. John Monaghan Consultant Obstetrician
"The duty to intervene to save the woman's life is clear. Under the present law we have full freedom and support for ethical and safe practice. The threat to the woman's life does not need to be imminent."
Dr. Mary Holohan Consultant Obstetrician, Rotunda Hospital
"There is no question of women being denied life-saving cancer treatment because of the amendment."
Prof. Eamon McGuinness Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
"As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion--the purposeful destruction of the unborn child--is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman... We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women."
Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare, signed by over 1,000 medical professionals

Abortion is NOT healthcare

Ireland is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby, safer than the UK or the US, according to the United Nations and to the most recent enquiry into maternal safety.5

At a major public hearing in Dáil in 2013, top Irish obstetricians testified that pregnant women received ANY life-saving treatment they needed in Irish hospitals and our ban on abortion did not prevent that. They also confirmed that NOT ONE woman had died in Ireland because of our ban on abortion

In England, 90% of all abortions are performed on healthy mothers, ending the lives of healthy babies. This is NOT "healthcare"

2 Bridish DoH, See calculations at
3 National Down Syndrome Cytogenic Register (NDSCR) for England and Wales, annual report 2013 and Parliamentary inquiry into Abortion and Disability, UK, 2013
4 Office of Population Censuses and Surveys. The Registrar General's statistical review. Supplement on abortion. London: HMSO, 1968-73.
5 Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015, WHO/UN (In 2015 Ireland was ranked join 6th out of 183 countries) Maternal Death Inquiry Ireland (2017) Published by, and sponsors include: Family & Life, Life Institute,,, Coalition Against Abortion on Demand

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