As the President of Ireland signed the bill repealing the country’s life-affirming Eighth Amendment, pro-lifers lamented it as a “sad day for human rights”.
President Michael D Higgins signed the Thirty-Sixth Amendment Of the Constitution Bill 2018 on Tuesday, thus formally deleting the Eighth Amendment, which had guaranteed the right to life of the unborn and the equal right to life of the mother.
“Today is a day to remember all the lives saved by the Eight Amendment and all the people who are alive today because of it. But it’s also a sad day for human rights as a vital life-saving human rights provision of the Constitution has been removed,” Dr Ruth Cullen, spokesperson for the Pro Life Campaign, told The Catholic Universe.
The Irish electorate voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May’s referendum, with just under 67 per cent voting in favour of repeal.
“What will come in its place, wide-ranging abortion, is far from progressive and compassionate as those who campaigned for repeal claim it will be,” said Dr Cullen. “I am confident that a day will come in the not too distant future when people reflect on what has happened and regret the fact that we as a society have opened the door to the greatest injustice and discrimination of our time, namely legalised abortion, which targets and ends the lives of innocent and defenceless unborn babies.”
The Eighth Amendment Of The Constitution Act was effected after a referendum in 1983 which asked Irish people to vote on Ireland’s abortion laws. It passed with a 67 per cent majority.
The amendment read at the time: ‘The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother.’
Abortion was previously a criminal offence in Ireland under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has indicated the government will aim to introduce legislation providing for abortion by the beginning of 2019 at the latest.
Picture: Pro-life demonstrators from Stand up for Life campaign in Merrion Square, Dublin, for the retention of the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution in the lead-up to May’s referendum. (Niall Carson/PA).