Citizens’ Assembly and What Next
This page relies heavily on the content of this page on the Abortion Rights Campaign Website.
The Citizens’ Assembly has returned some very clear recommendations on what kind of abortion access they expect to see enacted in Ireland.
While we very much welcome the strong call for broad change from the members of the Citizens’ Assembly, it is important to remember that their recommendations must now go to an Oireachtas Committee, and then to the Dáil.
We can be sure that anti-choice groups and supporters are already contacting the members of the Oireachtas Committee, and that’s why we’re asking you to get in touch with the members of the Oireachtas Committee to make sure they know you don’t want to see the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations watered down.
This page is an attempt to assist people to communicate their feelings, about the Citizens’ Assembly Recommendations, to the Minister for Health and to the members of the current Oireachtas Health Committee.
You also might consider sending this letter to your local TD. If your TD is pro-choice, tell them they have your support. If they’re not, explain to them that abortion access is important to you as their constituent.
We have put together some sample text for you to use. Feel free to use it while you email, write, or call the members of the Oireachtas Committee or your local TDs. Committee members or your local TDs are much more likely to be contacted by the anti-choice side, which skews their perception of public opinion. Make sure your pro-choice voice is heard!
Don’t know who your TD is? Find out here
Joint Committee on Health – Remit and Membership
This Committee’s primary function is to consider matters of policy and governance for which the Minister for Health is officially responsible as well as considering Government policy relating to bodies which come under the aegis of the Department of Health.
It’s role is to consider such Bills, proposals contained in any motion, Estimates for Public Services or any other matters referred to the Select Committee by the Dáil.
Users can email the Minister by clicking “Minister”.
Users can email the Committee members jointly (all at once) by clicking ” All Members of the Committee”
individually – click “Show Details….” and then click the individual emails of each Committee member.
A suggested letter to which you can add content or from which you can remove content is included and is as follows:
Dear Health Committtee Member
I am contacting you to register my support for the recommendations on abortion legislation made by the Citizens’ Assembly at the weekend and to ask you to make sure these recommendations, at the very minimum, are enacted as soon as possible.
The Eighth Amendment affects all aspects of obstetric care in this country. Since it is a constant barrier to women’s equal rights, its removal will be a huge step forward for the rights of women, girls, and pregnant people in Ireland.
The members of the Citizens’ Assembly voted overwhelmingly for choice and change. The members have voted not to put grounds for abortion access in the constitution, and have made very clear recommendations as to the type of access they expect to see introduced.
As a citizen, I’m asking you to make sure the new Oireachtas committee recognises the will of the assembly members. The Citizens’ Assembly voted in favour of abortion access with no restrictions as to reasons (with the vote split between up to 12 weeks and up to 22 weeks of pregnancy). Additionally, they voted for abortion access if the health of a pregnant person (both physical and mental) is at risk, if they have received a diagnosis of foetal impairment, and on socio-economic grounds.
Our current law, the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act (PLDPA) only allows abortion in extremely restrictive circumstances – it is not fit for purpose – and a new legislative model that follows the same pattern will not be good enough. The best way to meet the needs of abortion seekers in Ireland and to ensure access to those who need it is to decriminalise abortion and to introduce free, safe, and legal access.
Thousands of people have marched on the streets over the past months and years to call for a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment. 87% of the Citizen’s Assembly participants believe that the 8th Amendment cannot remain in its current form. I believe this represents the feelings of Irish society.
The Government now has a clear mandate to call a referendum and introduce broad legislation on this issue. As citizen, I hold you accountable for removing the barriers to a referendum. The government must respect the process which it insisted on introducing. Any delay is an attempt to undermine the work of the Assembly and the rights of women, girls, and pregnant people in Ireland.
I look forward to your reply assuring me you will take action on this issue.
As stated earlier you are invited to add or to remove content from this draft letter.
This letter will be sent from your email address and please put your name to it after “Yours faithfully”.
Yours details are not collected or stored by this site.
Chair: Michael Harty
Vice-Chair: Louise O’Reilly