Professor Fiona de Londras and Máiréad Enright co-authored the book ‘Repealing the 8th’. Published in February 2018, its content offers practical proposals for policymakers and reform advocates, including model legislation, and was used as a campaigning tool ahead of the referendum.
Working within their long-standing political, activist, academic and civil society peers, de Londras and Enright ensured that a collaborative and feminist pathway to reform was achieved. As part of Lawyers for Choice, they contributed to a programme of public legal education which shaped popular understanding of the legal issues at stake. Working with Together For Yes, de Londras and Enright were part of a team shaping evidence-based messages and rebuttals. During the referendum campaign, their website About the 8th (aboutthe8th.com) translated complex legal arguments for the electorate so that non-experts were empowered to engage with the issues as they prepared to cast their vote.
After the referendum, they worked with academic lawyers, campaigners, NGOs and politicians to ensure that their submissions on the Bill reflected the concerns of those on the ground. While some of their proposals were successfully reflected in the new law (for example, in respect of how a health ground ought to be framed), others were not. However, following their proposals, a provision requiring that the law be reviewed in three years time was included, at which stage issues such as the mandatory waiting period, the criminalisation of assistance, and the continued criminalisation of doctors (which they argued against) may be revisited. In addition, other proposals they made—such as the introduction of safe/exclusion zones around premises where abortion care is provided—remain on the legislative agenda, with action promised in the coming months.