This week, the Dáil will debate the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. You can read more about the Oireachtas Committee findings here and here, but in summary they are:
- removing Article 40.3.3 (the 8th Amendment) from the Constitution
- decriminalising abortion;
- allowing abortion without restriction as to reason up to 12 weeks;
- allowing abortion with gestational limits set by medical best practice for reasons of fatal foetal abnormality or risk to health, including mental health, of the woman
These debates will inform the final wording of the draft legislation on abortion access that will accompany the referendum on the Eighth.
Despite a clear mandate from the Irish population that repeal of the Eighth is essential, and that abortion must be made more widely available, some politicians are not supportive of the Joint Oireachtas Committee recommendations, and a larger number have not yet expressed an opinion.
This is where you come in!
It’s vital that TDs hear from their constituents so they can be in no doubt that people all over Ireland support change. Please contact your TDs and let them know that you support a referendum to repeal the Eighth and legislation based on the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee at a minimum.
Some points you can emphasise:
- The recommendation allowing abortion without restriction as to reason up to 12 weeks must be included in any draft legislation.
- The draft legislation must fully decriminalise abortion
- The draft legislation must provide for abortion under the public health system without any financial or unnecessary regulatory barriers.
You can find out where your TD stands on the issue by using this tracker prepared by the Irish Times. Even if your TD is in favour, it’s still worth contacting them, both to show your support for the Oireachtas Committee recommendations and to emphasise the importance of the points above.
Steps for contacting your TD
- Find their details at the Who is my TD website.
- Email, phone or write a letter. Phoning and/or letter writing are especially impactful.
- Start out by noting that you are a constituent and naming the area where you live.
- State your support for a referendum on repealing the Eighth and, at a minimum, the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee. Include the points above or any other points you wish to make. Be friendly but clear.
- You can request a meeting with your TD if you like – many will be happy to meet with you at their constituency clinic or Dáil office.
- Friendly sign off and you’re done!
More useful advice on talking to your TDs from the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth here.