Here's where the politicians stand on Eighth Amendment

While the recommendations to repeal the Eighth Amendment and to allow unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy will be put to politicians next week, it remains unclear if they will back the plans.

Fine Gael

Members will be allowed a free vote to limit the internal division which led to a series of resignations during the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The majority of its ministers — including Simon Harris, Paschal Donohoe, Eoghan Murphy, and Charlie Flanagan — have backed the plans.

However, Michael Creed, Heather Humphreys, and Michael Ring have not, while Tánaiste Simon Coveney is expected to express his view next week and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the end of this month.

Independent Alliance

The minority Government partner, which will allow a free vote, is split three to two in favour of the recommendations.

Shane Ross, Finian McGrath, and John Halligan back the plans, while Sean Canney and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran have concerns.

Unaligned Government Independents

Katherine Zappone fully supports the committee recommendations, while Denis Naughten is still examining the findings.

Fianna Fáil

Like Fine Gael, Micheál Martin’s party is allowing a free vote.

Mr Martin’s position is likely to sway a large number of first-time back-benchers, given the fact his view before the 2016 general election was that a repeal vote could only occur if it was clear what would replace it.

However, the wording of post-referendum legislation — which is likely to include the 12-week recommendation — will be key to convincing pro-life TDs, including high-profile figures such as finance spokesman Michael McGrath.

Sinn Féin

While the party is only in favour of repeal and does not as yet support the 12-week limit, it will fully support the committee report as it includes its concerns.

Sinn Féin members currently cannot back a 12-week limit due to party policy. However, while this will not be changed at the party’s special ard fheis next month, sources have said it may be changed at a normal ard fheis, potentially in April.

Such a move would cause serious difficulties for pro-life advocate Peadar Toibin.

Labour, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, and Greens

All four parties are fully supportive of the committee recommendations.


While Independents4Change TDs support the recommendations, other Independents — including Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins and the Healy-Raes — are opposed to the reforms.

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