Ruling 'exposes' State's failure to legislate


The State’s failure to legislate to protect the rights of women has been “clearly exposed” by the European Court of Human Rights ruling, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties claimed today.

Director Mark Kelly said: “It is imperative that the Government legislate swiftly to ensure that women are able to exercise their existing Constitutional rights."

"Yet again, it has required international intervention to remind our legislature of their domestic responsibilities. If Ireland wishes to reassert its sovereignty and its standing in the international community, it must start by fully respecting the human rights of people at home," he said.

Choice Ireland, a pro-choice campaign group, today welcomed the court’s judgement, saying the court unanimously held that the lack of any legislative or regulatory scheme in Ireland by which a woman could establish whether she is entitled to a lifesaving abortion violates Ireland’s obligation to ensure respect for her private life.

Spokeswoman Sinéad Ahern said, “This decision vindicates the positions of Choice Ireland and others who have repeatedly stated that Irish abortion laws are unclear and may result in women being denied abortions they need to save their lives.”

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service , which supported all three women involved the case, said it hoped the Government would now act to clarify its abortion laws when a woman’s life may be at risk.

The Abortion Support Network, a group that helps women who make the journey over to Britain to end pregnancies, said in a statement it was disappointed that the court had not ruled in favour of the two other women.

"Every week we hear from pregnant women living in Ireland who are in a state of crisis, with no other place to turn," said Mara Clark, director of the Abortion Support Network.