The contentious 1983 Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Ireland introduced a constitutional prohibition on the provision of abortion within the Irish State. In the decades since, further referendums, court cases and legislation have tried to adjust and clarify the scope of this provision, often in the midst of bitter and angry debate.
With the current government promising a referendum on repealing the Eighth in May/June 2018, the debate is growing again. But in the midst of claim and counter-claim, media debates, Twitter rants and false news fears on Facebook, what are the arguments for retaining or repealing the Eighth? In Debating the Eighth, sixteen contributors put forward their positions on the defining issue of our generation. Gathered together in one volume are presented arguments from:
- Jan O’Sullivan, TD (Labour)
- Tracy Harkin, the Iona Institute
- Kate O’Connell, TD (Fine Gael)
- Niamh Uí Bhriain, the Life Institute
- Catherine Connolly, TD (Independent)
- Declan Ganley, pro-life speaker and campaigner
- Bríd Smith, TD (People Before Profit)
- Bernadette Goulding, Women Hurt
- Ursula Barry, Co-Director of the Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities, UCD
- Dr Anthony McCarthy, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children
- Kevin Keane, President of Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union
- Róisín Bradley, Fianna Fáil (writing in a personal capacity)
- Valerie Tarico, psychologist and a social commentator
- Karen Gaffney, Karen Gaffney Foundation
- A Catholic priest (identified in the book)
- Mark Fitzpatrick, Arann Reformed Baptist Church
Debating the Eighth is unique in providing both sides of the debate with an equal platform to put forward their arguments. Its contributors include two women with personal experience of abortion, a person with Down’s syndrome and a Catholic priest arguing from a pro-choice perspective. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the forthcoming debate.
About the Editor
Conor O’Riordan studied humanities at St Patrick’s college Carlow and has an interest in current affairs.