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Professor Fiona de Londras testifies to Irish parliamentary committee
Professor Fiona de Londras

On 27 September 2017 Professor Fiona de Londras presented evidence before the Irish parliament’s Joint Committee on the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.

This committee is considering possible reform of Ireland’s current approach to the regulation of abortion, including by removing and/or replacing the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed an equal right to life to “the unborn” and “the mother”. The Committee was convened to consider the report of the Citizens Assembly, which recommended significant reform and to which Professor de Londras also made a submission.

The Committee will report by the end of 2017, and a referendum on a new constitutional approach is expected in 2018.

In her work, Professor de Londras argues for either ‘simple repeal’ of the provision or its replacement with a negative provision that says “Nothing in this Constitution shall prohibit abortion as provided for by law”. Such an approach, she argued to the Committee, would ensure a reasonable level of certainty about the meaning of the Constitution, protect the rights of pregnant persons, and enable the parliament to pursue the aim of protecting foetal life so long as, in doing so, they did not disproportionately impact on women’s rights. 

Professor de Londras’ written evidence is available here, and the footage of her testimony is available through the Oireachtas playback function. You can read Professor de Londras’ policy briefing on abortion law reform in Ireland.