Repealing the 8th means... necessary healthcare for women at home 4 years ago

Repealing the 8th means... necessary healthcare for women at home

The eighth amendment affects many aspects of Irish society.

From healthcare to human rights, the law prohibits women in Ireland from making decisions about their own bodies, futures, and lives. 


Repealing the 8th means a change for many aspects of society in Ireland.  This is one of them.

You can follow the rest of this series here. 

Repealing the eighth amendment means better healthcare for women in Ireland.


The current law puts pregnant women at risk, whether they want to continue with their pregnancy or not.

In its current state, the eighth amendment means that a woman must be dying before she is permitted to legally obtain an abortion.

Right now, terminating a pregnancy is illegal in all cases except those where there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother.

This includes cases of rape, incest, and fatal foetal abnormality (FFA).


Under the eighth amendment, if a pregnant woman becomes sick enough that she can no longer carry a child but not sick enough that she will die if she continues the pregnancy, she has no legal option to terminate on Irish soil.

Repealing the eighth will allow those who are sick to decide what treatment is best for them.

National Maternity Hospital master Dr Rhona Mahony recently told a Together for Yes conference of a woman who was declared clinically dead, but kept on life-support because she was pregnant.


The woman, known as Miss P, had suffered a brain injury in 2014 at 15 weeks pregnant. Dr Mahony said that the eighth amendment forced this woman to be kept alive to "incubate the foetus."

In 2012, Savita Halappanavar presented at Galway University Hospital with back pain.

Over the course of seven days, she suffered a septic miscarriage which eventually led to her death. When Savita requested a termination, she was told that this could not be done as Ireland was "a Catholic country."

Following Savita's death, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act was passed to give doctors the legal capacity to abort if there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother.

The eighth also affects those who have had abortions abroad, as well as those who illegally obtain abortion pills from overseas.


From a healthcare perspective, availing of post-abortion care can prove difficult under the eighth.

Those who travel for terminations and return the same day run the risk of cramping and bleeding on their journey home.

Post-abortion counselling is available free of charge through the HSE, the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), and other services, however if a patient experiences a crisis pregnancy or FFA, her doctor is not legally permitted to give her all the help she requires.

Under the eighth, doctors are only legally allowed to provide information about abortion services abroad, subject to strict conditions.

This information includes the names and addresses of abortion services that are lawful in other countries. This information must be "truthful and objective and must not advocate or promote abortion."

Doctors are also prohibited from prescribing a patient abortion pills.

Repealing the eighth will allow doctors to provide patients with information about abortion at home. They will no longer need to send women away.

Similarly, many sex education classes will be permitted to provide information about these services too.

Sex ed teachers and outside agencies would be able to legally inform students about safe abortion services at home in accordance with whatever legislation is drawn up around terminations in Ireland.

Repealing the eighth amendment means giving pregnant women the access to the healthcare they need and deserve - whatever choice they make.