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 40.3.3º:

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

Overview[edit]

In Attorney General v. X, commonly known as the "X Case", the Attorney General had secured an injunction in the High Court preventing a 14-year-old girl who had become pregnant from rape from obtaining an abortion. While the Supreme Court reversed this injunction on the grounds that there was a risk to her life from suicide, they held that it would otherwise have been lawful. This amendment addressed this, so that the constitutional protection of unborn life could no longer restrict the freedom to travel. The Amendment was adopted in November 1992 in a referendum of the Irish people.[1]

On the same day, the Fourteenth Amendment was approved, allowing freedom of access to information with respect to abortion. 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.

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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