Repealing Ireland's Eighth Amendment: abortion rights and democracy today

Ela Drążkiewicz*, Thomas Strong, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Hugh Turpin, A. Jamie Saris, Joanna Mishtal, Helena Wulff, Brigittine French, Pauline Garvey, Daniel Miller, Fiona Murphy, Louise Maguire, Máire Ní Mhórdha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


In 2018, the Irish public voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which since 1983 banned abortion in the country. While this was a watershed moment in Irish history, it was not unconnected to wider discussions now taking place around the world concerning gender, reproductive rights, the future of religion, Church–State relationships, democracy and social movements. With this Forum, we want to prompt some anthropological interpretations of Ireland's repeal of the Eighth Amendment as a matter concerning not only reproductive rights, but also questions of life and death, faith and shame, women and men, state power and individual liberty, and more. We also ask what this event might mean (if anything) for other societies dealing with similar issues?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-584
JournalSocial Anthropology
Issue number3
Early online date07 Sep 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Sep 2020


  • abortion
  • Ireland
  • Repeal the 8th
  • reproductive rights
  • social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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