On Friday 25 May, the Irish people will vote in a referendum on whether or not to make a change to the Constitution.

The referendum proposal relates to the termination of pregnancy.

In recent weeks and months, we have been hearing from campaigners on both sides who have been arguing to retain or to repeal and replace Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.

Article 40.3.3 resulted from the passing of the Eighth Amendment, followed by the Thirteenth (freedom to travel) and Fourteenth (availability of information) amendments.

The ballot paper you will be presented with on 25 May does not mention the Eighth Amendment or abortion. Neither does it mention retain or repeal.


Here is a sample ballot paper:


There is one proposal:

"Do you approve of the proposal to amend the Constitution contained in the undermentioned Bill?

"Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018"

If passed, the thirty-sixth amendment would delete the existing Article 40.3.3, which acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and the equal right to life of the mother, and replace it with a new Article 40.3.3 which would say:

"Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy."


Your options are:

"If you approve, mark X in this square ... Tá/Yes"

"If you do not approve, mark X in this square ... Níl/No"


If you mark the Yes square:

This means you want the existing Article 40.3.3 to be deleted from the Constitution and replaced by the following wording:

"Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy."

The new Article 40.3.3 would allow the Dáil and Seanad to make laws to regulate termination of pregnancy.


If you mark the No square:

This means you want to retain (keep) Article 40.3.3 as it is in the Constitution.

A No vote means you want Article 40.3.3 to remain, as it is, in the Constitution.


This is the existing Article 40.3.3 in its entirety:

"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

"This subsection shall not limit freedom to travel between the State and another state.

"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."


Government's proposed legislation

In the event of a Yes vote, the Government has published the key headings of its proposed legislation.

Its proposals are outlined in a paper called General Scheme of a Bill to Regulate Termination of Pregnancy, which you can read here.


Polling day

Polling station will be open from 7am until 10pm on voting day, Friday 25 May.

Bring personal identification and your polling card, which you should have received in the post. If you did not receive a polling card but are on the electoral register, you are still entitled to vote.


List of valid ID - as outlined by the Referendum Commission

A passport, a driving licence, a public services card, an employee identity card with a photograph, a student identity card with a photograph, a travel document with your name and photograph, or a bank, savings or credit union book containing your address in the constituency.

It is also acceptable to show a cheque book, a cheque card, a credit card, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate, as long as you also have another document which confirms your address in the constituency.

Full referendum coverage
Guide to the referendum