Dublin, Ireland, Sep 19, 2018 / 10:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which provided legal protection for the unborn, was officially repealed Sept. 18. The repeal was enacted when President Michael D. Higgins signed the country’s 36th Amendment into law, clearing the way for legal abortion in Ireland.
The removal of the Eighth Amendment follows the decisive result of the national referendum held in May. Only one county, Donegal, voted to keep the amendment. Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
While it has not yet been determined under what circumstances abortion will become legal, the government is proposing that it be allowed throughout the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Legislation to this effect will be introduced by the government next month.
It is unknown when Ireland’s first abortion facility will open, but Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this will likely be by 2019.
The Church vocally opposed the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, and many of Ireland’s hospitals are either run by the Church, or have historically been administered by religious orders. Varadkar has said that Catholic hospitals will not be permitted to opt out of performing abortions, making further conflict between the Church and the pro-abortion movement likely.