Irish Abortion Ban Violates Women’s Rights

The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortions violates a woman’s right to adequate medical care in life-threatening situations. Nevertheless, the court maintained Ireland’s right to prohibit abortions in other circumstances. In 1992, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal in cases when the woman’s life was endangered. Ireland’s Parliament, however, never enacted legislation to protect that right. The Court’s ruling will apply pressure to Ireland to draft a law that entitles women to obtain abortions when their life is at risk. Niall Behan, chief Executive of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), stated, “Today’s decision is a landmark one for Ireland and, in particular, for women and girls. The very considered and clear view of the European Court of Human rights leaves no option available to the Irish State other than to legislate for abortion services in cases where a woman’s life is at risk.”


Irish Family Planning Association Press Statement 12/16/10; New York Times 12/16/10; BBC 12/16/10; CBS News 12/16/10

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