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The politics of repeal October 10, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting polling results in the IT late last week in relation to Repeal of the 8th.

18% against repeal, 55% for limited abortion provision, 19% pro-choice and 8% don’t know.

As the editorial notes, a referendum is surely on its way. But what happens next? If the broad ‘centre-ground’ sentiment is in favour of limited provision – in the case of rape and fatal foetal abnormality, what happens in relation to the pro-choice cause? Does it support a referendum that shifts the position forward but only to a limited extent or does it oppose that referendum.

The regional stats – caveats abound – are interesting too.

Support for repeal of the amendment is strongest in Dublin, with 57 per cent in favour of limited access to abortion, 23 per cent in favour of a liberal abortion regime and 13 per cent in favour of retaining the current prohibition.

But it’s not a huge difference between that and the most resistant to change:

The strongest support for retention of the amendment is in Connacht-Ulster where 23 per cent would like to see it remain in the Constitution, 54 per cent favour repeal to cater for limited abortion and 15 per cent opted for wide access to abortion.

Class aspects? Perhaps, perhaps not (keeping in mind the massive problems with ABCDE categorisation):

In class terms, the poorest DE voters and farmers are the most strongly in favour of retaining the amendment while the best-off AB voters are most in favour of repealing it to allow wide access.

And that piece in the IT suggests that:

The message from the poll is that a proposal to repeal the amendment has a good chance of succeeding if the conditions in which abortion is allowed are limited to specific circumstances. However, if the introduction of a strictly limited regime is opposed by those who support the current prohibition and those who favour a liberal abortion regime band together a referendum could be a close-run thing.

So, any thoughts on how this plays out from here?


1. Joe - October 10, 2016

Correction (I think): 55% in favour of limited abortion provision.

I don’t think I’ll have the patience for this coming debate. 55% in favour of limited availability of abortion. Within that 55% there’s a potential for endless debates – if a woman has been raped, yes/no to access to abortion (ah but how do we know she’s not just saying she was raped…) and so on and on.

The most recent legislation provided for limited access to abortion when the woman has ‘proven’ her suicidal potential after talking to x no. of pyschiatrists. Sheer, utter maddening madness.

Was it for this? It appears that yes, it was for this.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - October 10, 2016

Apologies you’re right. Amended.


RosencrantzisDead - October 11, 2016

You left out the best line in the whole piece:

Among party supporters it is highest among Fine Gael supporters at 75 per cent and, perhaps most surprisingly although possibly a statistical aberration due to small numbers, lowest among Labour voters (66 per cent).

You would need to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this.


2. irishelectionliterature - October 10, 2016

What exactly will come from the Constitutional Convention? Its very important with regard to the debate and the framing of the future.
Will it recommend a Referendum on Abortion and giving us a new wording?
Will it recommend Repealing the 8th with Legislation in place to allow Abortion in cases of rape and FFA?
If the 8th is to be altered or replaced in the Constitution then it’s likely some of those in favour of “more liberal” laws may oppose it. If the 8th is repealed and legislation for certain circumstances is in place then it’s likely that all those in favour of Repealing the 8th will vote for it as it will be seen as a stepping stone.
So a lot depends on what exactly is put to a vote.


dublinstreams - October 10, 2016

what will the government put into the citizens assembly, how much will the gov reveal their plan at that stage, before then Oireachtas committee, Dail and, Dail vote and any other legislation they might propose is the question.


3. An Sionnach Fionn - October 10, 2016

The limited abortion thing is crazy. What are the definitions of “limited”? A fetus is thought to have condition “A” so it is a candidate for abortion but another fetus is thought to have condition “B” so it is not a candidate for abortion? Are we going to have desperate women faking conditions or sympathetic doctors faking their referrals in order to circumvent abortion-rules?

Will there be a grading of potential disabilities to children or life-threatening conditions to mothers? Congratulations, Miss, you have a 51% chance of dying in childbirth therefore you can have an abortion. Sorry, Miss, you have only a 49% chance of dying in childbirth therefore you cannot have one.

What about the rape and incest criteria, which I presume will be part of the limited definition? If a woman who was raped turns up in an abortion clinic for an appointment 48 hours later is she going to be told, sorry, you have no referral from the Gardaí, your GP and five documents filled out in triplicate, therefore off to the UK with you?

Liked by 1 person

Joe - October 10, 2016

Exactly ASF. That’s exactly what I was trying to say in my comment above.

How much of our sad lives is going to be taken up with ‘debating’ this sorcery for the next few years?
I despair, I really do.


4. Ivorthorne - October 10, 2016

I’m guessing with these figures they leave it till after the convention and probable next election.

If not, an amendment is the most likely scenario.


ivorthorne - October 10, 2016

On a separate note, this really isn’t a shock. It was implied in the Amnesty figures but spun in a different way.


5. nnaatnif - October 10, 2016

Really interesting!


6. gendjinn - October 10, 2016

How passionate are the 19%?

If they are committed to repeal of the 8th without a replacement, proposing to deal with abortion through legislation going forward, then my money is on full repeal.

There will have be a lot of direction action, civil disobedience and constant harassment of politicians but that’s a big enough group to get it done.


7. Gewerkschaftler - October 11, 2016

Another poorly designed survey.

What does ‘limited’ mean?

What exactly are the Repeal the 8th demands regarding subsequent abortion law?


Michael Carley - October 11, 2016

You could see a smart anti-repeal campaign invoking the memory of the first divorce referendum and claiming that repeal with no legislation in place would mean `abortion on demand’ or whatever nightmare they choose to raise.


Gewerkschaftler - October 11, 2016

Precisely. If only this survey had been designed in such a way to see exactly what kind of maximal ‘limited’ would carry majority support.


CMK - October 11, 2016

Polls like this are part of the process of managing whatever fudge emerges from the Citizens’ Convention. The establishment clearly don’t want women to be able to access abortions on their own terms in Ireland but they know the current situation is untenable. Trying to put this issue to bed for a generation (at least) is the most pressing concern for the political establishment, not meeting the real need for a properly functioning health system which includes full reproductive choice. The misogyny which is embedded in the constitution permeates every aspect of this debate. Abortion and the 8th are a ‘problem’ for the establishment that they are working hard to resolve, not an issue for women and allowing full autonomy in reproductive decision making. Hence we see a growing number of ‘Repeal the 8th activists will lose any referendum with their stridency etc, etc,’ pieces in the media, all softening us up for the fudge that will inevitably emerge from the Convention and the distinctions between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ that will underpin the post 8th amendment landscape. If the establishment get their way we’ll still be debating the lack of full reproductive choice in 20 years time on the CLR should it, and we, still all be here, and England will continue to provide reproductive choice for women in Ireland. ‘Republic?’, don’t make me laugh!

Liked by 1 person

Gewerkschaftler - October 11, 2016

That makes sense.

And no better instrument than the Irish Times.


dublinstreams - October 11, 2016

the citizens assembly isn’t the final step you know? i doubt it will have the final wording or what legislation the gov propose.


8. RosencrantzisDead - October 11, 2016

Anyone voting for the insertion of a list of ‘limited circumstances’ for abortion into the Constitution is a gobshite.

It would result in the same or greater problems than we have now – doctors having to be Constitutional scholars or judges dictating what is best medical practice. Neither group wants to get into that nonsense. I expect the Repeal campaign will deploy every legal resource they have to prevent this.


Gewerkschaftler - October 11, 2016


But to win the campaign we would probably have to have some kind of model for the relevant subsequent legislation.

Do you think the campaign is winnable without? Perhaps it is.


dublinstreams - October 11, 2016

the gov will have to come up with legislation, the citizen assembly may be still questioning whether there will be referendum at all.


RosencrantzisDead - October 11, 2016

If you are trying to fight a referendum campaign by demonstrating what sort of ordinary legislation you will bring in, then you are on a hiding to nothing. Anyone with a scintilla of knowledge about the legislative process will know that ordinary legislation can be repealed or amended, so why would any rational person find succour in it?

Another argument to watch out for is the one that lead to the 8th Amendment to begin with: that those sneaky liberals on the Supreme Court are going to make abortion-on-demand a constitutional right.

The latter, I think, will be much more pernicious and troublesome.


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