Judges and Lawyers Urge No Vote
A large group of lawyers, including three former High Court judges (two of whom have chaired referendum commissions), have recommended to voters that they should not grant the government the power to introduce “extreme” abortion legislation. The legal experts provide an analysis of the government’s proposal and what removal of the 8th Amendment would actually mean.
The lawyers highlight a number of legal facts that voters should take account of:
- The only constitutional protection for the unborn child is in the Eighth Amendment;
- A ‘Yes’ vote will remove all constitutional protection from each unborn child up to birth. In its place, we are asked to give the Oireachtas power to legislate for abortion;
- The Government has told us how they propose to exercise this power, if we give it to them. Draft legislation provides for a wide-ranging right to an abortion not only up to twelve weeks but also up to viability i.e. up to six months;
- In certain circumstances, under the draft legislation, the unborn child’s life may be ended right up until he or she has been born.
The lawyers point to the similarities between the planned legislation and the existing abortion law in Britain, and they are clear that the Government’s proposals “are extreme and not, as some have suggested, restrictive.” They also point out that any limitations on access to abortions set out in legislation “could be removed at any time by future Governments or challenged.”
Guide to Referendum 2018