Group of 50 organisations say TDs 'have to stop hiding' from 'red line issue' of Eighth Amendment

Group of 50 organisations say TDs 'have to stop hiding' from 'red line issue' of Eighth Amendment

A coalition of 50 groups is calling on the next government to hold a Referendum on repealing the 8th Amendment.

The Coalition to repeal the Eighth Amendment cites repeated polls, which show the public wants wider access to abortion.

While abortion is rarely out of the headlines, it has not been on the ballot paper for almost 33 years.

Now the coalition to repeal the 8th amendment, under which the right to life of a mother and unborn baby are equal, want it out of the Constitution.

Mandy la Combre from the Mandate trade union spoke about the need for a referendum on repealing the eighth amendment.

She said: "No Irish woman of a child-bearing age has ever had the chance to vote on her bodily autonomy in terms of reproduction."

Director of the National Women’s Council, Orla O’Connor says it is a red line issue for voters.

Ms O'Connor said: "The National Women’s Council have asked leaders to put forward a submission for women's equality.

"Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, the AAA/PBP have all signed up to that.

"This is a red line issue because it has to be dealt with in the next programme for government."

The coalition say they are disappointed by a lack of political will so far, despite repeated polls showing public support for abortion in the case of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities.

Spokeswoman Ailbhe Smyth blames politicians, saying: "81% of the people in this country, in the Amnesty Ireland poll last May, are in favour of change in our legislative apparatus.

"So that's not the problem, the problem is politicians not understanding that this is an issue they have to address. They have to stop hiding."

Chair of Midwives for Choice, Philomena Canning says the 8th amendment puts womens' health at risk.

Ms Canning said: "This is not just about abortion, this is about the safety of all women.

"The 8th amendment denies all women in pregnancy, from the moment of conception to the moment of birth, womens' role in decision making about their care and treatment is denied by the 8th amendment."

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