Campaigners in abortion debate reject idea of replacing Eighth Amendment

Poll showed 38% support for constitutional change allowing greater access to abortion

 Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger: rejects constitutional compromise. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger: rejects constitutional compromise. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Pro-choice and anti-abortion campaigners had a similar reaction to one of the findings of Thursday’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll on abortion, both sides rejecting the idea of replacing the Eighth Amendment with another, less restrictive article on abortion in the Constitution.

The poll found that 38 per cent of respondents favoured replacing the Eighth Amendment, which underpins Ireland’s strict ban on abortion, with another constitutional amendment that would allow greater access to abortion.

Some 28 per cent of people supported repealing the amendment completely, while 16 per cent were against any change.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger said the poll was “skewed” and was “designed to push for a rotten compromise”.She added that the poll “stands in stark contrast to polls conducted by other agencies like Amnesty”, the human rights group which campaigns for the liberalisation of abortion laws in Ireland.

The Pro Life Campaign also said it was also opposed to any change to the anti-abortion amendment in the Constitution.

Spokeswoman Dr Ruth Cullen said “any attempt to dismantle the Eighth Amendment, even with a supposedly ‘restrictive’ wording, would render the amendment redundant and meaningless. One thing, however, is clear from today’s poll: the public very definitely do not support the radical position on abortion being pushed by the ‘Repeal the Eighth’ campaign.”

The Citizens’ Assembly meets again this weekend, when it will discuss the options of retaining, repealing or amending the Eighth Amendment.