Questions and Answers

The Law Now

What is the 8th Amendment and why does it matter?

What is the law on abortion now?

Is there a human right to access abortion?

How does the 8th Amendment affect people who plan to continue their pregnancies?

The Referendum

Why is a referendum on the 8th Amendment required?

Can we reform abortion law without a referendum?

What will people be voting on in the referendum?

The Law after Repeal

Will a vote for repeal create a legal vacuum?

Will the Oireachtas be required to legislate for abortion post-repeal?

What will the new abortion legislation say?

What does abortion ‘on request’ up to 12 weeks mean?

When will abortion be legal after 12 weeks?

Would abortion be available in emergency situations?

Will a yes vote lead to abortion ‘up to birth’?

Will ‘the unborn’ be protected after repeal?

What does the proposed new law say about disability?

Will abortion be available on mental health grounds?

Will the proposed law be more liberal than the British Abortion Act 1967?

Will abortion travel still happen after repeal?

Will healthcare professionals be forced to provide abortion against their consciences?

Will abortion still be a crime after repeal?

Will abortion pills be available after repeal?

Might a future constitutional challenge require the government to remove the time limit for access to abortion on request?

Will the European Court of Human Rights force Ireland to introduce abortion ‘on demand’?

What are the implications of repeal for crimes against pregnant women?

What are the implications of repeal for medical negligence law?

Will the law on abortion information be changed after repeal?

The Law if the 8th Amendment is not Repealed

What will happen if the 8th Amendment is not repealed?


When will abortion be legal after 12 weeks?

 The government proposes to legalise abortion after 12 weeks in four situations:

  • Where there is a risk to a woman’s life
  • Where there is a  risk to serious harm to a woman’s  physical or mental health
  • In emergency situations where there is an immediate risk to a woman’s life or a risk of serious harm to her health
  • Where the foetus has been diagnosed with a condition that means it will die before or shortly after birth (fatal foetal anomaly)

Except in emergencies or in cases of fatal foetal anomaly abortion will be illegal after the foetus has reached viability.Read More »

New booklet!

In collaboration with Lawyers for Choice, we have produced a new booklet providing short accessible answers to key questions about the referendum. We hope it will be a useful way of encouraging undecided voters to come and take a closer look at the more detailed answers here on the site. Look out for hard copies of the booklet in the future.

Our printing budget is very limited. However, we welcome any local canvassing group who want to print out and distribute their own copies. Please just tag us on twitter at @aboutthe8th to let us know that you are using the booklet.

Kathy at We Do Printing ( designed the booklet and we highly recommend her work.

Download here.


The booklet also comes in an ‘Easy to Read’ version, which you can download here