A movement has been established by DCU students seeking to formally renew Students’ Union (SU) support for the repeal of the eighth amendment.
The eighth amendment is a constitutional prohibition on abortion in all circumstances and was introduced in 1983 after a referendum that saw 66 per cent of the Irish electorate endorse it.
The “Repeal the Eighth DCU” group is seeking to have a campus referendum to renew the mandate that DCUSU currently has to advocate for a national referendum on this matter. None of the current sabbatical officers were in attendance at the ‘March for Choice’ in September, despite USI involvement.
“I wanted to know how my fellow students felt about the eighth amendment, and to me it seemed like a good opportunity to inform DCU students about the eighth amendment in our constitution as many young people don’t know what it is, and by having a referendum we can update the SU’s stance on the issue,” said Keri Wilson, a second year student of Contemporary Culture and co-founder of this group.
She added, “Ireland has been chastised at the UN for its restrictions in regard to abortion, and I think it is the right time for Irish Citizens and the Government to make a change that will benefit people of our generation and those to come.”
The last campus referendum on abortion was held in February 2013 and featured five possible stances the SU could take on the issue of reproductive rights. 719 students out of 1,428 (with 1,200 being the quorum) voted in favour of DCUSU taking a narrow ‘pro-choice stance’. The ballot paper defined this stance as meaning that “where it will be the decision of the woman to make, within an accepted number of weeks of conception, whether to seek an abortion within the State.”
“Ireland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. It is essential the SU position reflects the consensus among students” said Chairperson of DCU Amnesty International , Peter Carberry.