Will of the people must be respected
After a fraught campaign, the country will vote this week on whether or not to delete the present Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution - the Eighth Amendment - which acknowledges the right to life of the unborn with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, to be replaced with a new article which will allow for provision to be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy, or induced abortion.
At this stage, it is difficult to know with certainty what will be the result, although opinion polls tend to indicate that voters will decide by a slim majority to repeal the present article. However, opinion polls have been wrong in the past at this stage in previous referendum campaigns and the definite possibility exists that voters will decide not to delete the present article. The result is expected to be close.
If a majority votes No, then laws may be passed to provide for abortion only where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, including the risk of suicide. If a majority votes Yes, this will allow the Oireachtas to pass new laws regulating abortion and these laws need not limit the availability to circumstances where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother.