Repeal the 8th
Humanists and the Repeal the 8th Coalition
In 2016, the Board of the Humanist Association took the decision to join the Coalition to Repeal the 8th Amendment. As Humanists, we called on those more than 250,000 people in Ireland who identify themselves as non-religious, to support this campaign. For too long a narrow, restrictive and hypocritical approach to the treatment of pregnant women, derived from religious dogma, drove thousands to seek a British solution to Irish problems with the help of the UK health service. The HAI joined more than 50 other organisations in calling for the repeal of an amendment which impeded appropriate legislation in this area.
This policy was consistent with the core values of humanism: Compassion, Equality and Reason. It is compassionate to support pregnant women in the face of immense challenges. Equality of treatment for all is a basic human right, and as this constitutional amendment uniquely impacted on women, it needed to be repealed. It is an offence against reason for women to be obliged to carry a foetus to term in cases such as fatal foetal abnormality.
The Board of the HAI acknowledged there was a divergence of opinion within the Association concerning the details of the legislation which would need to follow Repeal. However, during consultations held during the development of our Strategic Plan, repeal of the 8th amendment was specifically identified as a campaign which had widespread support within our organisation.
The proposal of a Constitutional Convention was yet another attempt to evade political responsibility on the part of our legislators. There needed to be a decision taken to hold a referendum on the question of the 8th Amendment and to proceed with legislation thereafter. Such legislation needed to be informed by the human virtues of Compassion, Equality and Reason.
On 25th May 2018, the country voted by 66.4% to 33.6% to remove the amendment with more than two million votes cast.