The Eighth Amendment

A chara, – Your editorial of March 3rd makes it clear that while a majority would opt to see "abortion legalised to provide limited access in specific hard cases", they do not want abortion on demand and worry that our politicians will not wish to or be able to limit the further liberalisation of abortion "in the absence of the Eighth Amendment".

Concerning the final point they are most certainly right to be worried.

The so-called “Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act” was introduced by the previous government despite a firm election promise that it would enact no abortion legislation. This Act allows for abortion on the basis of suicidal ideation – something that the experts consulted in advance of this legislation confirmed abortion was not a treatment for – and teeters at the very brink of what is allowable under the Eighth.

It is reasonable to wonder how much further that government would have gone without this amendment to restrain them. It is therefore understandable for people to wonder whether future governments would have the will to resist the pressure they will undoubtedly come under to introduce abortion on demand if the Eighth were removed; or even if they did wish to resist would the courts of this land or elsewhere allow them to do so.


So what to do?

Perhaps at this point it might be as well to consider why so many are willing to allow for the taking of innocent human life in what are described as “hard cases”.

One major factor has been the endless stream of articles in the media promoting the idea of abortion as a right and using these “hard cases” as a way of undermining the Eighth, and knowing full well once it was gone a major barrier to unfettered and absolute “choice” in this matter would be gone.

If people were as suspicious of the media with regard to this issue as they are politicians, the majority might well be content to leave things as they are and retain the Eighth. – Is mise,



Co Kilkenny.