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Defending life
from conception to natural death


SPUC: The Irish Citizens' Assembly should reject the legalisation of the killing of unborn children

16 December 2016


The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) has today made its submission to the Citizens’ Assembly, where the Eighth Amendment, which protects the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn child, is being discussed.

SPUC calls on members of the Assembly to reject any attempts to legalise the killing of unborn children and to demand the full restoration of the protection intended by the Irish people when the Eighth Amendment was first adopted.

Patrick Buckley, SPUC’s representative in Ireland, said "During the 1983 referendum campaign, the Society worked alongside the Irish pro-life movement for the adoption of the Eighth Amendment. We are now compelled to make this submission in order to present a robust defence of that amendment. We object in the strongest terms possible to any attempt to undermine or circumvent it, either by limiting the degree of protection it provides to individual unborn children or the scope of its application in Irish law."

Executive Summary of the submission:

  • The purpose of the Eighth Amendment is to prevent the violation of the right to life of children by abortion. The Citizens’ Assembly should reject the legalisation of the killing of unborn children and demand the full restoration of the protection intended by the Irish people when the Eighth Amendment was first adopted.
  • The right to life is shared by all members of the human family without distinction. This is guaranteed by international law. Abortion, however, was considered a crime against humanity by the Nuremberg Tribunal. No universal human rights treaty has ever recognised a right to abortion.
  • Ireland's treaty obligations to safeguard existing human rights' standards mean that no court, no legislature and no human rights body, can legitimately eliminate a fundamental human right once it has been recognised in domestic law.
  • The claim by the UN Human Rights Committee that Ireland is in violation of human rights' standards and should amend the Constitution to ensure access to abortion has no foundation in international law. In fact, this view directly contradicts Ireland's treaty obligations to protect the rights of children before birth.
  • Any law which permits abortion on the basis of a subjective judgement of clinicians on a predicted quality of life will threaten an ever-increasing number of children considered unworthy of legal protection.
  • There is ample evidence that once abortion is legalised in exceptional circumstances it quickly gives way to widespread abortion. This has been the experience in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and other nations across the globe.
  • There is no proven medical benefit to abortion, yet thousands of studies document the ways which abortion damages women’s health. Evidence shows that the after-effects of an abortion undertaken for reasons of foetal disability can be particularly traumatic.
  • International law prohibits the child in the womb being punished for a capital offence committed by his or her mother. Not only would a law allowing the abortion of children conceived through criminal sexual activity violate their right to life, it would punish an innocent child for the crimes of his or her father. 
  • No one pressing for the removal of the Eighth Amendment has been able to show how the complex legal problems surrounding the issues of rape, statutory rape, consent and mental capacity can be dealt with without the legalisation of abortion on demand.
  • Perinatal hospice care applies the principles of palliative medicine to babies diagnosed with life-limiting conditions and provides help and support for families in this painful situation. Abortion is never a genuinely compassionate response to a crisis pregnancy; perinatal hospice care is indeed such a response.
  • Irish law does not place any less value on the life of a disabled child, even if that life is tragically short. The Citizens’ Assembly should reject the legalisation of a lethal form of discrimination based upon a child’s disability or the circumstances of conception. The Irish nation must continue to value all her children equally.

Notes to Editors

  • Read the full submission
  • The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is an independent education, research, advocacy and lobby group with active members throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, and with affiliates in the Republic of Ireland. We are committed to affirming, defending and promoting the inherent value of human life from the moment of conception until its natural end. We defend, assist and promote the life and welfare of mothers during pregnancy and of their unborn children from fertilisation up to, during and after birth.
  • SPUC has released a video – Act Now: Protect Ireland’s Pro-Life Amendment

Contact us

For further comments or to request an interview, please contact Patrick Buckley on:

  • Mobile: + (353) 872 578 250
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Comments (1)

  • Rita Joseph

    16 December 2016, 7:19pm

    An excellent submission! Well done!

    Rita Joseph

    Your comment has been submitted and is currently awaiting approval

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