Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland

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The Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland specified that the prohibition of abortion would not limit freedom of travel in and out of the state. It was effected by the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1992, which was approved by referendum on 25 November 1992 and signed into law on 23 December of the same year.

Changes to the text[edit]

  • Insertion of new subsection in Article 40.3.3:
This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state.
  • Together, this, and the Fourteenth Amendment made the full text of the constitution in regard to abortion (40.3.3) the following:
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.

Overview[edit]

The Amendment was adopted in November 1992 by a plebiscite of the Irish people, largely in response to Attorney General v. X - a case that arose where a 14-year-old girl who had become pregnant from rape was threatened with legal action for travelling to the United Kingdom to obtain an abortion. It specifies that the prohibition of abortion would not limit freedom of travel from Ireland to other countries where a person might legally obtain an abortion.[1]

On the same day the Fourteenth Amendment was approved, guaranteeing freedom of speech with respect to the issue. Another proposal, the Twelfth Amendment, which would have held that the possibility of suicide was not a sufficient threat to justify an abortion, was rejected.

Under European Communities law in 1992, Irish citizens already had the right to travel unhindered within at least the European Union, being one of the basic "Four freedoms".

Result[edit]

Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum[2]
Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 1,035,308 62.39
No 624,059 37.61
Valid votes 1,659,367 95.71
Invalid or blank votes 74,454 4.29
Total votes 1,733,821 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 2,542,841 68.18

See also[edit]

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