3 Referenda in 1992

Pro-life rallies were held in April, June and October 1992 – and they halted the rush to legislate for the X-case (which would be abortion on demand) and brought the pro-life position back to the debate. Abortion almost became legal because calls were made for the government to legislate based on the X case ruling. However the Fianna Fail/P.D. coalition argued it needed an amendment – and brought forward the 12th amendment which would have allowed for abortion for mental health/psychiatric reasons, which, in the UK and elsewhere, has meant abortion-on-demand.

Albert Reynolds asked the Irish people to allow abortion where there was a risk to the “health, as distinct from the life” of the mother and threatened even more liberal abortion legislation if this amendment was not carried. The information and travel amendments were passed but the amendment which would have allowed the introduction of abortion was roundly rejected by 64%.  Though two other amendments on the right to travel and the right to information were passed in a deliberately created atmosphere of confusion. The Government maintained that these two amendments established general rights and had nothing to do with abortion as such.

The Government threatened during the referendum campaign that if the so-called "substantive amendment" were not passed it would proceed with legislation. However the overwhelming defeat of the amendment was clearly seen as a pro-life victory with the last minute intervention by five of the Bishops calling for three "No"s being crucial to the final outcome.

Moreover the Medical Council had clearly re-affirmed its position that the deliberate destruction of the unborn child was un-ethical and unnecessary, which made nonsense of the claim that there was a genuine conflict of rights between mother and child. In such circumstances it was impossible for the Government to proceed as planned and the abortion issue as such was placed on the political back burner.

The Twelfth Amendment was a failed proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland, to state that abortion would be allowed in some limited circumstances . It was rejected on the 25 November 1992

It read: It shall be unlawful to terminate the life of an unborn unless such termination is necessary to save the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother where there is an illness or disorder of the mother giving rise to a real and substantial risk to her life, not being a risk of self-destruction.

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 the 23 December of the same year.

It reads : This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland specified that the prohibition of abortion would not limit the right to distribute information. It was effected by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1992, which was approved by referendum on 25 November 1992 and signed into law on the 23 December of the same year.

It reads: 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.

H_1992_RallyShot - 1992 Anti-abortion rally

One of 3 pro-life rallies held in 1992 by Youth Defence.