In Ireland a Citizens’ Assembly is preparing a report on the abortion ban in the country. A public consultation launched by the Assembly received more than 13,500 submissions, of which an overwhelming majority supported the prohibition of abortion.

The Irish Government has appointed a Citizens’ Assembly, composed of 99 randomly selected citizens and a judge chosen by the government to be the chairperson, with the task of making recommendations to the Parliament about the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, which recognises the right to life of the unborn and thus prohibits abortion in the country.

The Assembly had its first working meeting on 25 November 2016 and is expected to deliver a report with recommendations in the first half of 2017, to which the Parliament has to respond after analysing it. Five meetings are planned to discuss the Eighth Amendment and three have already taken place.

As part of its deliberative process, the Citizens’ Assembly has run a public consultation on this topic that lasted until 16 December 2016 and surprisingly collected more than 13,500 submissions. The results are clear on supporting the abortion ban in Ireland.

A random and representative sample of 300 answers was selected for members of the Assembly to analyse. 70% of these supported the Eighth Amendment, 28% wanted a repeal and 2% were not clear about their position. Submissions were made by post or online and all the postal replies analysed were for the abortion ban. Regarding online submissions, 52% were for the prohibition of abortion, 45% against and 2% were unclear.