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


Up to 12 weeks it will be somewhat more liberal. Under the Abortion Act 1967, which regulates abortion in England and Wales, abortion on request is not permitted. The proposed new Irish law will allow abortion on request up to 12 weeks (see explanation here). However, the Abortion Act 1967 never requires a mandatory waiting/reflection period, while Irish law will require people to wait for 72 hours from making the request before having an abortion in the first 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks Irish law will be considerably more conservative: abortion will be available on far more limited grounds in Ireland, and for a far more limited time scale (up to viability only) than is the case in Britain. The only situation in which the laws will be comparable is where there is a ‘fatal foetal anomaly’.Read More »


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


Some people are anxious that a vote to repeal the 8th Amendment will lead to abortion ‘up to birth’, and that this will be required by the Constitution after repeal. However, this is not the case.

The government’s proposed new legislation allows for abortion ‘on request’ up to 12 weeks. After that, the government proposes to allow abortion only on very limited, health-based, grounds up to the point of foetal ‘viability’ (i.e. the point at which the foetus is likely to be capable of surviving outside the womb). Past the point of foetal ‘viability’, the government proposes only to allow abortion in cases of ‘fatal foetal anomaly’; where the foetus has been diagnosed with a condition which means that it is unlikely to be born alive, or to survive very long after birth.

It is extremely unlikely that the Constitution could be said to require the state to provide for abortion ‘up to birth’.

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