The Eighth Amendment
Sir, – I am pleased to note that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was willing to spend at least a couple of hours discussing the matter of reproductive healthcare and access to abortion facilities with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. For far too long Irish politicians have ignored this issue on the basis that the matter is supposedly of no interest to their constituents. The consistent evidence of repeated opinion polls shows this is not the case.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution denies every woman and girl in Ireland the right to decide how she is treated during pregnancy. And worse, it criminalises those who make decisions outside this restrictive constitutional framework.
The inaction by Irish politicians regarding the reproductive rights of women – which in advanced western democracies like Canada are rightly understood to be fundamental human rights – cannot be accepted any longer. It is therefore to be hoped that the Taoiseach will return from his trip committed to holding a referendum on removing the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution as soon as possible. – Yours, etc,
Sir,– I read some of your letters regarding the abortion laws in Canada (August 22nd). Unfortunately most of them were inaccurate and hysterical. In Canada the law (not “an abortion law”) states that “No physician in Canada can terminate a pregnancy over 24 weeks without serious indications that the life of the mother is at risk or that the foetus has very serious malformations”. – Yours, etc,