Abortion and the eighth amendment: putting it up to the politicians
The abortion committee has voted in favour of repealing the eighth amendment — now it’s up to the Dail
December 17 2017
After 13 weeks, 16 meetings, 47 witnesses and sporadic outbreaks of umbrage, a stunned silence suddenly descended on committee room three in the basement of Leinster House on Wednesday evening. The Oireachtas committee on the eighth amendment had just voted to recommend the repeal of the constitution's most divisive clause, the 34-year ban on abortion.
“Should we clap or what?” asked Brid Smith, a Solidarity-People Before Profit TD who has told how she took a boat to England in 1985 to have a pregnancy terminated. Laughter rippled through the public gallery and around the horseshoe-shaped committee desk. It stopped where Rónán Mullen, an independent senator, and the TDs Mattie McGrath, an independent, and Peter Fitzpatrick of Fine Gael sat together, stony-faced.