What is the 8th Amendment?
The “8th Amendment” refers to Article 40, 3 of the Irish Constitution, which reads as 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”.
Doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals are fully aware that, when taking care of a woman who is pregnant, they are caring for two distinct lives. The Amendment clearly supports the standard obstetric practice of insisting on the use of all medically necessary treatments to protect the life of the mother even if this unintentionally compromises the life of the unborn child, while as far as is practicable making every effort to protect the life of that child.
The 8th amendment does not compromise the care of expectant mothers. Ireland remains one of the safest places in the world to have a child.