There isn’t really anywhere to talk about this so I thought I’d make a thread. Thankfully we should have a date for the referendum soon enough, which is really exciting but I’m also dreading the campaign. Its going to be messy. I’m involved in the Repeal campaign and I’m quite optimistic, but you really never know with these things. For those who aren’t familiar, lemme explain how we got here. Ireland is having a referendum this year on whether we should repeal the 8th Amendment of our Constitution, which guarantees an equal right to life of the ‘unborn and mother’ (actually a foetus and pregnant woman but anyway). This came about when conservative groups began to push for a constitutional ban on abortion after the Roe v Wade ruling in the US, to make it impossible for the Irish Supreme Court to come to a similar conclusion (More information here). It was passed by referendum in 1983 and the 8th Amendment was inserted into the Constitution. In 1992, a 14 year old girl became pregnant after being raped, and became suicidal due to being pregnant. Her parents brought her to England to have an abortion. They asked the police if they should collect tissue from the foetus to be used as evidence in the case against their daughter’s rapist. The police then alerted the Attorney General, who tried to get an injunction to prevent the girl from having a termination. The Supreme Court dismissed the injunction request and affirmed the right to have an abortion where there is a risk to the life of the pregnant woman, including where the risk is due to suicide (More information on the case here and here). In 3 subsequent referendums that year, the Irish people voted in favour of the right to travel to procure an abortion and the right to information on abortion. The referendum proposing to remove suicide as a grounds for abortion was defeated (The same proposal was defeated again in 2002). Despite being directed by the Supreme Court to legislate for abortion in these limited circumstances, parliament took no action and the issue was swept under the carpet. This changed in 2012 when a pregnant woman died in hospital from blood poisoning as she miscarried. She had asked for an abortion to save her life but was told that Ireland is a ‘Catholic country’ and it wasn’t an option (More information here). Legislation allowing for abortion where there is a threat to the life of the pregnant woman was introduced in 2013. Savita’s death kickstarted the abortion rights movement we have today. The campaigning and pressure from these groups made it apparent that the issue of the 8th Amendment had to be dealt with. The government has spent years trying to put the issue off for as long as possible, but the parliamentary committee on the 8th Amendment has issued its report and has recommended holding a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment and to then legislate for unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks. The government is expected to announce their decision on the report in the coming days, with a date for the referendum to follow shortly after, most likely in May or June. About 60% of members of parliament have said they are in favour of repeal, which is very encouraging. Opinion polls also show a clear majority of the public in favour of repeal but there is definitely no room for complacency and a lot of work has to be done in the next few months.