“The Oireachtas Committee has voted in favour of straightforward repeal of the eighth amendment, it is clear that they are voting in favour of safeguarding women’s health.” – Ailbhe Smyth
The Oireachtas Eighth Amendment Committee held what is expected to be their last public meeting. It has completed its examination of the Citizens Assembly’s recommendations on the Eighth Amendment.
This morning, Committee Chair Senator Catherine Noone said: “At our meeting, the committee will complete its examination of the report and recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly through the voting process and we will then prepare our draft report in accordance with the committee’s terms of reference.”
At around 3 PM, a significant vote was held and the majority voted in favour of repealing the eighth amendment of the constitution. Fourteen voted in favour, six against and one abstention (the chair Catherine Noone).
— Aengus Ó Maoláin (@AengusOMaolain) December 13, 2017
The motion was set forth by Jan O’Sullivan and it specifically called for ‘repeal simpliciter’ – a straight repeal of the Eighth Amendment – to be placed before people in a referendum.
Fianna Fáil TD James Browne and Anne Rabbitte told the committee they could not support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment but would favour a replacement to Article 40.3.3 to allow for terminations in certain cases.
Even though this is not a legally binding vote, it clearly indicates where the Oireachtas members stand on this issue and the vote has been trending on Twitter.
Today, as a vote happens inside we think of those outside. As a sticker in Dublin Airport said “you are not alone, this airport holds the shadows of tens of thousands of Irish women who have gone before you. We are everywhere. ❤️ #8committee pic.twitter.com/vvd99czd8h
— AnnaCosgrave (@AnaCosgrave) December 13, 2017
The committee has also recommended terminations should be provided when there is a substantial or real risk to the life or health of a woman and that no distinction should be drawn between the physical and mental health of the woman.
Convenor of the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment, Ailbhe Smyth told GCN: “The historic achievement is that at long last we have a cross-party official committee saying here in the Dail a referendum must be held to repeal the eighth amendment. [That it] must go.”
She added: “We in the coalition are obviously delighted about this and we are thanking the committee and we are thanking this whole wonderful repeal movement for all of the work that has been done over the past 3 or 4 years to bring it to this point and that we will keep on working over the next six months to win that referendum for women and for equality in this country.”
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