Reforming Abortion Law in Ireland: An Analysis of Submissions to the Citizens Assembly

31 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2018  

Fiona de Londras

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK

Mima Markicevic

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School, Students

Date Written: October 10, 2017

Abstract

For decades, the questions of whether, how, and when pregnant people living in Ireland can access abortion have been a matter of contention. The Constitution recognised "the right to life of the unborn" and the first step to meaningful law reform is unavoidably a referendum to remove this provision (the 8th Amendment). That referendum will take place in 2018. This paper analyses a sample of submissions from the public made to a 'Citizens Assembly' established to consider constitutional reform, in order to identify the kinds of arguments that inform the submissions in favour of, and against, repeal. This analysis shows that, rather than the technical and technocratic arguments that now dominate elite discourses about abortion law reform in Ireland, first principles arguments about fetal personhood and rights, on the one hand, and women's autonomy on the other dominate these submissions. If this is reflective of popular discourse on reform, it may be taken to indicate the shape of the debates that will dominate the 2018 referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment.

Keywords: abortion, Ireland, constitutional law

Suggested Citation

de Londras, Fiona and Markicevic, Mima, Reforming Abortion Law in Ireland: An Analysis of Submissions to the Citizens Assembly (October 10, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3113980 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3113980

Fiona De Londras (Contact Author)

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK ( email )

Edgbaston
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/staff/profile.aspx?ReferenceId=99740

Mima Markicevic

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Law School, Students ( email )

Edgbaston
Birmingham
United Kingdom

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