The Union of students in Ireland (USI) is urging whoever forms the next government to hold a referendum repealing the 8th amendment of the constitution (article 40.3.3).
USI would like to see a repeal of the ‘Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013’ and to have it replaced by laws that ensure safe and legal access to an abortion. The minimum cases which the USI believe qualify for an abortion are; rape, incest, risk to health or fatal foetal impairtment.
USI itself has been campaigning for Irish abortion services since the 1980s and is a pro-choice organisation.
Current legislation in Ireland means that women in Ireland seeking an abortion must travel abroad in order to access. This has led to the abortion debate becoming, in part, a class issue. Women on lower incomes are unlikely to have the money to travel and pay for the procedure abroad. This directly effects students whose access to funds is often limited.
In 2014, 3735 women provided a republic of Ireland address at an abortion clinic in England or Wales. The UK department of Health statistics show that of the women who provide Irish address when availing of an abortion, one quarter are between the ages of 18 and 25.