Last night, President Michael D. Higgins signed the 36th Amendment into the Constitution Bill, signifying that the 8th has officially been repealed.
The President’s move amended Article 40.3.3, which pertains to the 8th Amendment (the right to life of the unborn), the 13th Amendment (the right to seek information regarding termination), and the 14th Amendment (the right to travel for a termination). These were replaced with the following:
“Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.”
The signing emerged after Leo Varadkar announced that legislation regarding the facilitation of abortion would be introduced during the first week of October, adding that this timeline would see termination services put into place in January 2019.
In May, the Irish electorate voted 66.40% in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment.
The signing of the 36th Amendment was announced on the President’s twitter:
In accordance with Article 46 of the Constitution, President Higgins today signed the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018, and it has accordingly become law.
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) September 18, 2018
Minister for Health Simon Harris retweeted the announcement, adding his support:
It’s official! The 8th amendment is repealed! Legislation to cabinet next week and introduced in Dáil in October. An important day. https://t.co/MAfT7aYMm9
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) September 18, 2018
Ailbhe Smyth, the co-director of Together for Yes, the national campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment last night shared this:
— Ailbhe Smyth (@ailbhes) September 18, 2018
Roisin Ingle took to Twitter to share her reaction to the 8th being repealed:
Yes! The 8th amendment is finally history 🙏 @PresidentIRL Can’t believe am w/ Tara Flynn, @Colmogorman @SenLynnRuane @AnaCosgrave @BrennanGaye in Edmund Burke theatre where we did one of our 1st #8thref talks. Emotional. Grateful. #repealedthe8th ❤️ https://t.co/LKekpn3jrF
— Roisin Ingle (@roisiningle) September 18, 2018
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced that he is “ready”:
The Constitution is now officially changed and the 8th is repealed. Govt to pilot through the Dail and Seanad next. We’re ready. https://t.co/3VOnL8oerZ
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) September 18, 2018
Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland proclaimed that it is “done”:
— Colm O'Gorman (@Colmogorman) September 18, 2018
Solidarity TD Ruth Coppinger congratulated campaigners on the result:
8th Amendment now repealed. Well done to campaigners who fought for this all through the time when establishment parties were voting down #repealthe8th Bills. Its movement of women & young people that won. I'm going to Health Cmte tomorrow about abortion services #repealedthe8th
— Ruth Coppinger TD (@RuthCoppingerTD) September 18, 2018
The signing of the bill comes just over a week in advance of the Annual March for Choice organised by the Abortion Rights Campaign. The theme of the 7th Annual March for Choice is “Free, Safe, Legal”, and will take place on Saturday, September 29. The March acknowledges that while the electorate voted a resounding Yes, ten people still travel for abortion care every day, while three more people take illegal abortion pills at home. The event’s mantra is “no one gets left behind” as Ireland waits for the government to pass legislation and introduce real abortion services.
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