Doctors: 8th Amendment is a 'constitutional straitjacket'; LoveBoth says No vote keeps abortion on demand out of Ireland

Over 1,000 doctors have signed a public declaration in support of repealing the 8th Amendment.

Doctors from across the country attended the National Doctors Together For Yes summit in Dublin this morning.

Speaking at the event, Together For Yes spokesperson Dr Mark Murphy said the 8th amendment puts doctors in a "constitutional straitjacket."

He said: "Doctors across Ireland want change. We want repeal. We are here today to say that the 8th amendment isn’t working – it puts doctors in a constitutional straitjacket which holds us back from providing proper care to our patients.

“Today Doctors Together For Yes are revealing a public declaration by over 1,000 doctors who want change the law to allow us provide compassionate care to our patients. We are GPs, we are psychiatrists, we are obstetricians, we are medical students. We are Together For Yes.

“Doctors Together For Yes are saying loud and clear today: we want change. Nothing at all will change unless we remove the 8th amendment.”

Obstetrician and gynaecologist Professor Louise Kenny, a specialist in the management of high-risk pregnancy, said that in her 25 years of practice she had witnessed at first hand the harms of the Eighth Amendment.

"Under the Eighth Amendment, doctors like me can only perform a termination of pregnancy if we agree that there is a real and substantial threat to a woman’s life. There is no medical or legal definition of real and substantial, and the uncertainty this creates is unhelpful and occasionally dangerous."

"I have cared for women whose health has been irreparably harmed by the 8th amendment. I have cared for women who have died because of the Eighth Amendment. As an obstetrician, I never met a woman who wanted a termination, but I’ve met many women who desperately needed one."

The list of doctors is available at www.togetherforyes.ie/doctors

Meanwhile, the LoveBoth campaign is holding a Stand Up for Life rally in Merrion Square in Dublin this afternoon.

Organisers say they expect thousands of supporters of retaining the 8th amendment to turn out for the march.

Spokesperson for the LoveBoth campaign Cora Sherlock has this message.

"The purpose of today's event is to remind people that there are just two weeks to go until we go to the polls for abortion on demand.

"That's what we're voting on on May 25 and to ask them to make every effort between now and then to make sure that the people they know are familiar with the fact that the only way to keep abortion on demand out of Ireland is to vote No.

Doctors Together for Yes launch public database; LoveBoth hold Stand Up For Life Rally in Dublin

Earlier: Campaigning for the referendum on the 8th Amendment continues in earnest today.

A 'Doctors Together for Yes' summit is being held in Dublin this morning, while local groups are canvassing around the country across the weekend.

The group will launch its public database of over a thousand practicing doctors who have declared their support for the repeal of the 8th Amendment.

The summit will be attended by Minister for Health Simon Harris and will include doctors from multiple fields of medicine including general practice, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychiatry.

Meanwhile, a LoveBoth Stand Up For Life Rally gets underway at 2pm this afternoon in Dublin's Merrion Square.

In advance of the event, Dr Ruth Cullen of the LoveBoth campaign said: “There is nothing restrictive about the Government’s proposals on abortion. A ‘No’ vote on May 25 is the only way to avoid abortion on demand in Ireland.

"It’s really encouraging though the way people are starting to scrutinise the Government’s proposals and see for themselves just how extreme it is.

"Today's rally in Dublin will be the last big pro-life gathering in advance of the referendum.”

- Digital Desk

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