The Dublin Well Woman Centre has made a formal submission to the Citizen’s Assembly to voice our opinion that it is of great national importance to hold a referendum on repeal of the 8th Amendment. Below you can read an extract from our submission, or you can read the full submission.
Extract from the submission by the Dublin Well Woman Centre to the Citizen’s Assembly, December 2016.
The Dublin Well Woman Centre believes a Referendum should be held to remove the 8th Amendment from the Constitution.
We greatly value our Constitution, and cherish the sense of ‘ownership’ citizens rightly feel over it. We believe it should be an aspirational document, which should never be used to restrict the decisions Irish citizens, and Irish residents, seek to make. Furthermore, the Constitution is no place to define or restrict access to healthcare.
Since 1983, the 8th Amendment has had the effect of forcing nearly 170,000 women to travel to vindicate their right to bodily integrity, thereby placing Ireland in violation of several international human rights treaties and covenants.
It has exercised a ‘chill effect’ upon doctors and other healthcare professionals, either halting or severely limiting their ability to respond with compassion and support to the needs of their patients.
As detailed in the formal enquiry, it was a significant contributory factor in delayed decision-making by doctors in the case of one woman, Savita Halappanavar, leading to her death in 2012. It has forced other women suffering from cancer to travel for an abortion because cancer treatment was refused them here because of their pregnancy, thereby leading to later-then-ideal intervention to treat the cancer.