TD questionnaire on Eighth Amendment referendum

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8th amendment referendum
Jan O’ Sullivan

Jan O’Sullivan TD (Labour Party)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why? 

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I am in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment.  The wording in the Constitution, equating the right to life of the mother with that of the unborn, cannot deal with the different personal situations that Irish women and their families find themselves in. Doctors in Ireland can only intervene when the woman’s life is in danger.  If her health is at serious risk, if she has been raped, if the child she is expecting will not live beyond birth, she cannot have that pregnancy terminated in Ireland. None of this can change if we don’t repeal the Eighth Amendment.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention?

I don’t believe there is any compelling argument for retention. It was meant to stop Irish women having abortions.  It didn’t.  Over 3,000 women gave Irish addresses when they travelled to Britain for termination of pregnancy in 2016, 99 of those gave Limerick addresses. Another 1,700 purchased abortion pills over the internet in that year.  The Irish people already voted in favour of the right to travel for abortion in a referendum.  If the majority vote to keep the Eight Amendment, Irish women will still travel in their thousands each year.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal?

These are real Irish women and girls, our neighbours, our relations, women we meet in our daily lives. They don’t make the decision lightly. They make it knowing they will have to go outside the country, without a doctor’s referral or break the law by importing pills and taking them in their bedroom or bathroom without a doctor’s advice.  They should be treated in our own Health Service under the supervision of their own doctors.  We can only care for women with a crisis pregnancy at home in Ireland if we repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Maurice Quinlivan
Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan

Maurice Quinlivan TD (Sinn Fein)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why?  

I am in favour of the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment has imposed untold misery on thousands of women who have had to travel abroad for terminations. It has denied women the right to the best healthcare for their individual situation and tied the hands of our medical professionals here. Women who were victims of rape were abandoned by our country in their time of most need, and forced to get a flight and seek treatment elsewhere. It has resulted in women buying abortion pills online, and taking them in their homes, with no medical advice or supervision, with the physical and psychological impact that brings. I trust that women and their doctors will make the correct decision for their own private individual reasons.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention?

The Eighth Amendment has cost some women in Ireland their lives and should never have been put in our constitution and needs to be removed.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal?

Abortions are happening in Ireland. The Eighth Amendment never stopped or changed that. All the Eighth has done is export an issue that we refused to deal with or forced women and girls to take abortion pills on their own with no medical advice or assistance. If we vote no we will be dismissing and condemning women. The victims of rape, of incest, women with fatal foetal abnormalities are not anonymous people. They are not statistics they are our family members, our friends and neighbours, our workmates. They need to be treated with love and compassion. As a society, we can no longer continue to keep our heads in the sand and pretend we live in some utopia that isn’t affected by this issue. We need to regulate this area and provide healthcare for women when they need it.

Willie O’Dea TD

Willie O’Dea TD (Fianna Fail)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why?  

I am very conscious that this is a very sensitive subject and that there are many sides and aspects to this issue. However, I am in favour of retaining the Eighth Amendment as it protects pre-born babies and prevents abortion on demand in Ireland. According to many Obstetricians, it does not prevent doctors from providing the best medical care to pregnant women and Ireland is one of the safest places in the world for pregnant women.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention? 

The Eighth Amendment is the only constitutional protection for the unborn and I believe that the proposal to allow abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks is a far too liberal regime. In many countries with similar abortion regimes, over 90 per cent of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted and tests are available in Ireland to detect Down Syndrome before 12 weeks. I do not agree with this.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal?

I have listened to many thought-provoking arguments for repeal but on balance I am in favour of retaining the Eighth Amendment for the reasons I have already outlined.

Tom Neville
Limerick Fine Gael TD Tom Nelille

Tom Neville TD (Fine Gael)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why?

This is a very personal sensitive issue for people themselves to privately decide on. While respecting all opinions my personal decision will be to vote yes to repeal as I believe that women in crises pregnancies can then decide with their doctors the appropriate medical course of action given their circumstances.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention? 

I have spoken to voters from both sides and conclude that their decision is based on their own honourable beliefs and experiences and I very much respect this. I will adhere to the decision made by the Irish people and the result of the referendum.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal? 

After much deliberation and examination and in the light of the ease of availability of termination pills on the internet I accept the Joint Oireachtas committees evidence and recommendations.

Niall Collins TD

Niall Collins TD (Fianna Fail)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why?

I will be voting Yes to repeal the Eighth Amendment next Friday. Abortion is not a comfortable issue for any of us to discuss or even think about but unfortunately, it is a reality on a daily basis for Irish women. They are either forced to travel to the UK or they go online and order an abortion pill and take it without any medical supervision or support. The Eighth Amendment has not prevented abortion happening in Ireland and actually has made it very difficult for women who are told that there is fatal foetal abnormality. Their doctors cannot help them in Ireland and they have to travel to the UK.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention? 

I don’t believe there is a compelling argument to retain the Eighth Amendment based on what is actually happening on a daily basis in our country. It is not preventing abortions and is actually making it unsafe for women who are going through a crisis pregnancy.

If people vote No and retain the Eight Amendment nothing will change. Three Irish women a day will order an abortion pill every day on the internet and another and another nine women will be forced to travel to the UK. Women who have been raped or victims of incest will be forced to go through with their pregnancy have their babies or to travel.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal? 

The most compelling argument for voting Yes to repeal the Eighth Amendment is that we will be able to help women who have crisis pregnancies in Ireland.

They will be able to go to their doctor and get counselling and advice before they make their own private decision. Women will be trusted and supported while they make their own decision and they will not be isolated or alone.

A woman who has been raped will be able to get medically treated in her own country. If people vote yes the new legislation will allow doctors to provide appropriate care to women whose life or health is at risk of serious harm.

Minister Michael Noonan

Michael Noonan (Fine Gael)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why? 

Did not respond.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention?

Did not respond.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal? 

Did not respond.

Patrick O'Donovan
Limerick Fine Gael TD and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan

Patrick O’Donovan (Fine Gael)

1. Are you in favour of retaining or repealing the Eighth Amendment? Why? 

Did not respond.

2. What is the most compelling argument for retention?

Did not respond.

3. What is the most compelling argument for repeal? 

Did not respond.