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

The ‘8th Amendment’ is the name usually given to Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. This introduces a near absolute ban on abortion in Ireland. It allows abortion as a last resort only where a woman’s life is at risk. Because it is part of the Constitution, it is not possible for the Oireachtas to introduce a law that would allow abortion in other cases (e.g. rape, serious risk to health). Such a law would be unconstitutional and struck down by the courts. In order to reform abortion law in Ireland the 8th Amendment must be repealed. This can only be achieved by a referendum.Read More »