Noel Whelan: Bid to fix abortion law in Constitution did not work
Eighth Amendment has forced isolation and travel on thousands of pregnant Irish women
May 3, 2018
We are not debating the merits of the Eighth Amendment in the abstract, this time around. It has been in the Constitution for more than 35 years. We know how it played out – and it wasn’t the way its proponents argued and hoped it would.
In 1983, those who opposed the amendment warned that its terms were vague and uncertain.
In the years since, our superior courts have spent many days hearing arguments about the levels of care permissible. Volumes of law reports have been filled with judicial pronouncements on the meaning of “with due regard to”, “as far as is practicable” and “unborn”. A third of the alphabet has been deployed as pseudonyms for the names of women whose crisis pregnancies became the subject of litigation.