What is the Citizens Assembly?
It is impossible to hear anything about the Repeal campaign without the Citizens Assembly being mentioned. So what is it exactly? The Citizens Assembly is a group of 99 people and a chairperson. It was set up in 2016 to discuss several pressing issues in Ireland, most notably; the 8th amendment of the Irish constitution. This assembly was nothing more than a delay tactic so that the government wouldn’t have to deal with the growing demands from the pro-choice campaign. The government put their utmost faith into the Citizens Assembly. Hoping and praying for the result we all expected; keep the 8th in place. But that didn’t happen.
The recommendation from the Citizens Assembly
Most people expected the result from the CA to reflect that abortion should be legal in specific circumstances. In other words, in certain circumstances Enda Kenny and the local parish priest would approve of. However the CA shocked the nation today when they gave the following recommendations;
A woman should be entitled to an abortion;
- Up to 12 weeks: (this is when the majority of abortions are preformed, approx. 92%)
– On request without need to provide additional grounds. (64% in favour)
- Up to 22 weeks:
– Where the pregnancy is a result of rape. (89% in favour)
– On socioeconomic grounds. (72% in favour)
– On grounds of foetal diagnosis of serious disability. (89% in favour)
– Risk to health of the woman. (Including both mental and physical health) (78% in favour)
- After 22 weeks:
– On grounds of diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality. (53% in favour )
– Serious risk to health. (78% in favour)
– Risk to life. (99% in favour )
It is unlikely the CA will recommend a full repeal of the 8th amendment. However, it is still of vital important that we campaign and settle for nothing less. If the 8th is replaced, even with more liberal abortion laws, this means, if it remains in the constitution, a referendum will have to be had to alter even minor changes in the future. Although a recommendation of repeal is unlikely, the best suggestion the CA could give is to remove the issue from the constitution. This will allow the issue to be solved through legislation, like it is in almost every other country.
Now is the time to keep pushing for the repeal of the 8th. It is clear the anti-choice legislation is an opinion of the past and the people are ready for change. Here’s hoping the government will pay attention this time and stop legislating for the 10%. And even if they try to ignore us like they have done for the past 30 years, we won’t be silenced. We are the majority. Women can’t wait. And we won’t wait.
Still unsure of something? Feel free to ask in the comments!
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