Timeline: Key dates
1983: Referendum leads to Constitution recognising the equal right to life of both mother and child.
1986: High Court rules that the availability of information on abortion outside the State is in breach of Constitution as it undermines right of the child to life. Decision affirmed by Supreme Court two years later.
1992: X case in which High Court ruling prevents a 14-year-old rape victim from travelling abroad for an abortion.
The injunction on her freedom of movement, which was sought by the then attorney general Harry Whelehan, was appealed to Supreme Court and overturned, as mother’s life, through the threat of suicide, was deemed to be at risk.
1992: Two referendums are held and further vary the Constitution by protecting the right of the mother to travel and to receive information on services available abroad.
1997: C case emerges in which a teenager becomes pregnant as a result of rape and seeks an abortion in the UK.
1999:The government publishes a Green Paper outlining several potential options on the approach to abortion in Ireland. These include constitutional and legislative changes, among them the complete ban on abortion; a restriction in the application of the X Cases in further cases and legislation to regulate abortion in respect of the X Case.
2000: An All-Party Oireachtas Committee publishes a paper following talks, which fails to capture a consensus on the way forward.
2002:A referendum for an amendment aimed at setting aside the threat of suicide as grounds for a legal abortion is narrowly defeated.
2010:After three women take a case against Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights rules State has failed to provide for abortion in circumstances where the mother’s life is at risk.
November 2012:Expert group reports to Minister for Health James Reilly.