The referendum will ask us do we want to delete (repeal) Article 40.3.3 and insert additional wording which allows the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion in Ireland (enable). This is called ‘repeal and enable’.
What does ‘enable’ mean?
The ‘enable’ part means the Eighth Amendment will be replaced by a clause which states the Oireachtas will have full responsibility to legislate on this matter.
What will the new wording be?
“Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancies.”
Why is that important?
The Supreme Court have clarified that the 8th Amendment is the only constitutional reference to the unborn. However, the Attorney General has advised that by inserting the new wording, the people will be voting explicitly to entrust the Oireachtas with this issue, making it harder to argue against the legislation produced.
So the law can never be challenged?
Laws will always be tested because of the importance of judicial oversight. But any judge would have to strongly consider the fact that the people have voted to give the Oireachtas full responsibility to make the laws on their behalf.
If the public vote yes
By removing Article 40.3.3 we will be removing the absolute Constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland. The 2013 the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act will continue to be the law but the new wording will make it possible for the Dáil to replace it with new laws that allow for abortion care in Ireland.