Inishowen Abortion Rights Campaigners have said motions passed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment are an important step, but it’s a long road to a referendum.

Oireachtas Committee members yesterday voted 14 to six in favour of a full repeal of the amendment. The cross-party committee also voted on recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly ahead of the preparation of a report to be submitted to the Dáil and the Government next week.

The Inishowen Abortion Rights Campaign welcomed many of the recommendations yesterday from the Joint Oireachtas Committee as “important steps towards securing real and realistic abortion access in Ireland.”

Spokesperson Cathleen Shiels said: “We have heard from a number of TDs over the past weeks who have changed their position on Abortion, having had the opportunity to learn about the reality of the situation in Ireland.

Inishowen ARC

“The Joint Oireachtas Committee, like the Citizens’ Assembly before them have recommended removing article 40.3.3 (the 8th Amendment) from the Constitution. Now the Government must act swiftly in order to protect those in Ireland who need an abortion. They must do this as quickly and call a Referendum early next year, so we can finally start to take care of our own, at home.

“It is particularly encouraging to see the Committee recommending that the abortion pill be made available via GPs, and that those seeking abortion as a result of rape will not be required to “prove” their attack. This will be particularly significant for women in rural areas. It will mean no unnecessary delays, or additional costs will be born by those of us living in the countryside.

“As Senator Ruane and other members made clear, abortion is a class issue. Not protecting the right to an abortion for socio-economic reasons punishes people who are in very difficult situations – those on low incomes, those who are homeless, or who are experiencing domestic violence. It is for these women the Abortions Rights Campaign will continue to campaign, even if necessary, beyond a successful referendum next year.

“Both the Citizens’ Assembly process and the Joint Oireachtas Committee have shown what we already know, when people are presented with the evidence, they see the need for local abortion services.

“The people of Ireland have waited long enough. Yes, we’re optimistic, but it’s a cautious optimism which relies on the Government respecting the work done by the Citizens Assembly, the Joint Oireachtas Committee and the fact that the vast majority of people in Ireland support repealing the 8th Amendment. ARC will continue to campaign for free, safe, legal access to abortion so as to not exclude those already marginalised in our society,” Cathleen said.