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Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
To specify that the prohibition of abortion would not limit the right to distribute information about abortion services in foreign countries
Location Republic of Ireland Ireland
Date 25 November 1992 (1992-11-25)
Results
Votes %
Yes 992,833 59.88%
No 665,106 40.12%
Valid votes 1,657,939 95.70%
Invalid or blank votes 74,494 4.30%
Total votes 1,732,433 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 2,542,841 68.13%

The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act 1992 (previously bill no. 26 of 1992) is an amendment to the Constitution of Ireland which specified that the protection of the right to life of the unborn does not limit the right to distribute information about services in foreign countries. It was approved by referendum on 25 November 1992 and signed into law on the 23 December of the same year.

On 25 May 2018, a referendum was passed to replace the current provisions on the right to life of the unborn, on travel and on information with a clause allowing legislation on the termination of pregnancy.

Background

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children had successfully obtained two injunctions affecting the availability of information on abortion services outside of the state. In Attorney General (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Ireland) Ltd.) v Open Door Counselling Ltd. and Dublin Wellwoman Centre Ltd. (1988), an injunction was granted restraining two counseling agencies from assisting women to travel abroad to obtain abortions or informing them of the methods of communications with such clinics, and in Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Ireland) Ltd. v Grogan (1989), an injunction was granted restraining three students' unions from distributing information in relation to abortion available outside the state. The Fourteenth Amendment overturned these judgments and allowed for information on abortion under terms regulated by law.

On the same day, two referendums were held in response to aspects of the Supreme Court decision in the X Case decided in March 1992: the Twelfth Amendment which would have excluded the risk of suicide as grounds for an abortion, which was defeated, and the Thirteenth Amendment, to permit travel outside of the state to obtain an abortion, which was approved. These three referendums were held on the same day as the 1992 general election.

Changes to the text

Insertion of a new paragraph in Article 40.3.3º:

This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state.

The subsection relating to abortion had originally been added with the Eighth Amendment in 1983. With the approval of the Thirteenth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment, the full text of Article 40.3.3º read as the follows:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state.

This subsection shall not limit freedom to obtain or make available, in the State, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by law, information relating to services lawfully available in another state.

Oireachtas debates

A previous amendment to the constiution had been proposed in a private member's bill by Labour Party TD Brendan Howlin on 12 May 1992.[1] This proposed to insert the following subsection after Article 40.3.3º:

4º Sub-section 3 of this section shall not be invoked to prohibit or interfere with the exercise of the right—
i.to travel to and from the State for the purpose of receiving services lawfully available in other jurisdictions, or
ii. to obtain, within the State, information and counselling relating to such services.

The provision of such information and counselling may be regulated by law.

This was defeated at Second Stage the following day by 62 votes to 67.[2]

The Fourteenth Amendment was proposed in the Dáil by Minister for Justice Pádraig Flynn on 21 October 1992.[3] It was passed in the Dáil on 22 October and in the Seanad on 30 October.[4][5] It then proceeded to a referendum on 25 November.

Result

Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum[6]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 992,833 59.88
No 665,106 40.12
Valid votes 1,657,939 95.70
Invalid or blank votes 74,494 4.30
Total votes 1,732,433 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,542,841 68.13
Results by constituency[6]
Constituency Electorate Turnout (%) Votes Proportion of votes
Yes No Yes No
Carlow–Kilkenny 81,192 69.2% 31,463 21,684 59.2% 40.8%
Cavan–Monaghan 79,004 70.2% 26,934 24,919 51.9% 48.1%
Clare 65,579 67.9% 25,092 16,964 59.7% 40.3%
Cork East 58,160 71.8% 20,924 19,102 52.3% 47.7%
Cork North-Central 68,209 66.6% 24,266 19,689 55.2% 44.8%
Cork North-West 44,578 75.4% 14,674 16,910 46.5% 53.5%
Cork South-Central 75,747 71.1% 32,218 20,050 61.6% 38.4%
Cork South-West 44,627 73.8% 15,562 15,197 50.6% 49.4%
Donegal North-East 46,934 67.2% 12,395 17,538 41.4% 58.6%
Donegal South-West 48,494 62.1% 11,797 16,446 41.8% 58.2%
Dublin Central 59,941 61.3% 20,812 14,784 58.5% 41.5%
Dublin North 62,917 69.0% 31,534 10,983 74.2% 25.8%
Dublin North-Central 64,349 71.6% 29,253 15,815 64.9% 35.1%
Dublin North-East 57,888 69.6% 28,623 11,036 72.2% 27.8%
Dublin North-West 57,951 65.3% 24,485 12,474 66.3% 33.7%
Dublin South 84,767 70.4% 43,613 15,018 74.4% 25.6%
Dublin South-Central 63,316 64.1% 25,825 13,949 64.9% 35.1%
Dublin South-East 68,366 58.8% 26,557 12,573 67.9% 32.1%
Dublin South-West 69,654 61.9% 31,009 11,173 73.5% 26.5%
Dublin West 57,755 64.9% 26,235 10,478 71.5% 28.5%
Dún Laoghaire 85,924 68.8% 44,009 14,001 75.9% 24.1%
Galway East 42,604 66.5% 14,885 12,487 54.4% 45.6%
Galway West 78,539 63.8% 28,761 18,515 60.8% 39.2%
Kerry North 48,606 69.6% 15,875 15,683 50.3% 49.7%
Kerry South 44,034 70.1% 15,389 13,058 54.1% 45.9%
Kildare 77,798 65.3% 33,425 15,935 67.7% 32.3%
Laois–Offaly 77,226 70.2% 27,552 23,624 53.8% 46.2%
Limerick East 71,004 68.6% 27,100 19,823 57.7% 42.3%
Limerick West 44,768 71.3% 14,629 15,165 49.1% 50.9%
Longford–Roscommon 60,452 75.1% 22,402 19,686 53.2% 46.8%
Louth 65,666 67.3% 24,356 18,260 57.2% 42.8%
Mayo East 43,392 68.0% 14,434 12,857 52.9% 47.1%
Mayo West 43,407 68.4% 15,838 11,544 57.8% 42.2%
Meath 77,900 66.0% 30,493 18,978 61.6% 38.4%
Sligo–Leitrim 60,675 70.4% 21,659 18,164 54.4% 45.6%
Tipperary North 42,633 75.1% 15,403 14,614 51.3% 48.7%
Tipperary South 56,705 70.3% 20,144 17,878 53.0% 47.0%
Waterford 63,692 68.1% 25,661 15,971 61.6% 38.4%
Westmeath 46,128 67.0% 15,874 13,447 54.1% 45.9%
Wexford 75,553 69.6% 28,384 21,530 56.9% 43.1%
Wicklow 76,707 67.8% 33,289 17,104 66.1% 33.9%
Total 2,542,841 68.1% 992,833 665,106 59.9% 40.1%

Aftermath

The legislation anticipated by the Fourteenth Amendment was provided for in the Regulation of Information (Services Outside the State For Termination of Pregnancies) Act 1995. This bill was referred by the President to the Supreme Court prior to its enactment, which upheld it as constitutional, having assigned counsel to argue that it provided inadequate protection to the life of the unborn, and counsel to argue that it provided inadequate protection to the rights of a woman. It was found to be constitutional and signed into law on 12 May 1995.

Repeal

On 25 May 2018, the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 was passed by referendum.[7] After it is signed into law, it will replace the current current text of Article 40.3.3º with the following text:[8]

3º Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Private Members' Business. - Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 12 May 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  2. ^ "Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992: Second Stage (Resumed)". Houses of the Oireachtas. 13 May 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  3. ^ "Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992: Second Stage". Houses of the Oireachtas. 21 October 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 22 October 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  5. ^ "Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1992: Committee and Final Stages". Houses of the Oireachtas. 30 October 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  6. ^ a b "Referendum Results 1937–2015" (PDF). Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. 23 August 2016. p. 51. Retrieved 9 May 2018. 
  7. ^ "Referendum Commission Detailed Results". Referendum Commission. 26 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018". Houses of the Oireachtas. Retrieved 9 March 2018. 

External links