It has been a momentous year for the campaign to realise women’s and girls’ reproductive health and human rights in Ireland. Since the historic referendum, on May 25th, 2018, where the people of Ireland went to the polls, and sent a powerful message to women and girls that their human rights and reproductive health matter, resoundingly voting by a 66.4% majority to repeal the 8th Amendment and remove the almost total constitutional ban on abortion.
Amnesty International has been campaigning for a human rights compliant abortion law in Ireland since launching its global campaign ‘My Body My Rights’ in 2014. In the intervening years, Amnesty International globally has mounted a strong and enormously successful campaign to secure sexual and reproductive rights.
Here in Ireland our work has contributed enormously to the repeal of the Eighth Amendment and the introduction of abortion services in Ireland on January 1, 2019. Amnesty International launched its campaign in 2014, joining an already strong grouping of civil society organisations and grassroots groups who had for years been campaigning to reform of Ireland’s abortion laws. Since we launched our global report She is not a criminal, documenting the impact of Ireland’s abortion law on the human rights of pregnant people, we have been campaigning to change Ireland’s abortion laws.
We supported and shared the stories of women who highlighted the impact of being denied abortion services in Ireland. We campaigned for abortion services that would respect and fulfil women’s human rights. We called on the Government and parliamentarian to act and change Ireland’s abortion law. Amnesty activists used their voice and joined the campaign to change Ireland’s abortion laws.
In May 2018, the people of Ireland voted by a landslide for access to abortion care based on a woman’s right to make decisions about her pregnancy and her health.
This outcome was only possible because of your involvement and your activism. Our country listened to women and this changed both the constitution and the law.
From a global perspective, these huge gains for women’s rights in Ireland have given hope to millions of women around the world that change is possible for them too. In a time of global rollback on women’s sexual and reproductive rights, Ireland has moved in the other direction. The campaign win in Ireland sends a message to Northern Ireland, El Salvador, Poland and other places were the struggle continues, that change is possible.
We have achieved so much over the last few years. Since January 2019 many pregnant people have been able to access abortion care in Ireland-
This is a significant step forward for the human rights of women and girls but barriers to access remain and the work is far from over- We still need to ensure the government delivers on its promise to ensure real access to abortion which respects the human rights and autonomy of women and girls.
Join us and the It’s Time Movement, and you will be kept up to date on developments in the global campaign for sexual and reproductive rights, and information on how you can get involved.