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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is calling on both houses of the Oireachtas to respect the  Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment report to repeal the Eighth Amendment from the Irish Constitution. The question on Eighth amendment should be decided on by students at the polling booth, and should be facilitated by holding a referendum in May 2018 following from the committee’s clear recommendation.

Speaking ahead of the Dáil debate on the report, USI President Michael Kerrigan said,

“We welcome the outcomes from the Eighth Committee because it shows there is merit in providing facts on this issue to prove how the Eighth Amendment damages people’s lives. The debate must not be derailed by smoke and mirrors and shouting matches. The debate must have women’s* healthcare at heart with a desire to seek and listen to the facts.”

Mr Kerrigan went on to say,

“While we welcome discussion on legislation allowing for access to abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the work done by the Citizens’ Assembly and the Eighth Committee must be upheld otherwise over a year of hard-work will be nothing but a piece of theatre. We urge that discussion and questions from members of the Oireachtas show compassion and care towards women when the debate takes place tomorrow in the Dáil.”

USI is calling on the Oireachtas to fully support the Eight Committee’s report, and for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to commit to a referendum being held in May, ensuring students would be in a position to cast a vote on the Eighth Amendment.

* The language of reproductive justice activism tends to centre around women and women’s bodies and women’s rights. Generally, access to abortion services is framed as exclusively a women’s issue. Trans men and non-binary people do get pregnant and may need abortion services. Reproduction justice and access to abortion services is incredibly important to trans people and young people in Ireland, a position supported by both the USI and TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland).

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