Explained: The Referendum On The 8th Amendment

Read our plain-English guide to this referendum, the proposed legislation, on women's health, and some myth-busting.

    Join The Campaign. Add Your Name.

    I have read and agree to the privacy policy

    image of irish government buildings simon harris minister for health

    Part 1: The 8th Amendment, & The Proposed Changes, Explained

    Part 1 explains the 8th Amendment, what it does and does not allow, and the Government's proposed legislation.


    What is the 8th Amendment?

    The part of our constitution that protects the unborn child's right to life.

    What does the Constitution mean when it says “unborn”?

    When the Constitution says “Unborn”, it means any developing baby or foetus in the womb, no matter how far along the pregnancy is.

    What will I actually be voting on in the Referendum on May 25th?

    To remove ("Yes") or to retain ("No") that right to life.

    What will happen if the referendum is passed and the 8th is repealed?

    The significance of this is that any change to the constitution needs the vote of the people. Legislation can be changed by a vote of the Oireachtas.

    Will the unborn have any constitutional rights if the 8th Amendment is repealed?

    Nope. Not one. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. Forever. The Supreme Court says so.

    Has the current government said what legislation it will bring in if the 8th Amendment is repealed?

    It has, and it's unthinkable. Read more about the proposed legislation here.

    How do I vote on May 25?

    Not sure how to vote? We've got a guide for you!

    Part 2: Women's Health Under Ireland's 8th Amendment

    Part 2 explains how the 8th Amendment functions in reality, what actions doctors can take, and when.

    Is Ireland a safe place to be pregnant?

    Yes! Ireland is one of the safest places in the world for pregnant women. The World Health Organisation [WHO] says that Ireland has the 6th lowest maternal mortality rates in the world.

    Are pregnant women refused life-saving treatment in Ireland? For example: "Will I be refused treatment if I have cancer while pregnant?"

    No! Both Irish law and Medical Council guidelines state that doctors should act to save a women’s life even if doing so will certainly lead to the death of the unborn child.

    What do Doctors say about all this?

    If the Government had asked them before bringing this referendum, many of them would have said that the proposed regime is unworkable.

    What do Nurses and Midwives say?

    That the babies they deliver are deserving of love and care, and that they don't want to be a part of the Government's abortion plan.

    What do Psychiatrists say?

    That the proposed UK-style "Ground C" clause is massively abused, and that abortion is not a treatment for mental health.

    Part 3: The Proposed Legislation

    Exactly what's in the legislation, and it what situations abortion would be allowed under the proposed legislation. (Spoiler: it's more than you're comfortable with.)

    Part 3: What's In The Legislation?

    The proposed "limits" on abortion, explained

    What are the proposed limits, and how do they compare to the United Kingdom's limits?

    Up to 12 weeks

    What the legislation permissive in months 1, 2 and 3.

    Up to 6 months

    What the legislation permissive in months 4, 5 and 6.

    Beyond 6 months

    What the legislation permissive in months 7, 8 and 9.

    Part 4: Abortion & Disability

    An honest explanation of how abortion discriminates against those with disabilities.

    Down Syndrome and Abortion

    How does abortion affect children diagnosed with Down Syndrome?

    Disability Voices For Life

    An amazing group. Take a look. 

    Open Letter from 85 Parents

    85 Irish parents signed an open letter something something

    Heard enough? Join the campaign here.