The Republic of Ireland has the strictest legislation on abortion in Europe. Abortion was illegal under all circumstances until 1992 when the Irish Supreme Court was forced to reevaluate its law after the “X” case. At the time, a 14-year old girl became pregnant due to rape and was unable to leave the country to have it terminated. As a result, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that there is a constitutional right to abortion only where there is risk to the mother’s life (the young girl was suicidal). Even so, women must travel abroad for the procedure.
Now, twenty years later, Irish government may be revisiting its restrictive abortion legislation after a European Court of Human Rights ruling found it in violation of Ireland’s Constitution. A once highly conservative nation, Ireland is becoming increasingly liberal along with the influence of the Roman Catholic Church declining. Surveys indicate that the public overwhelmingly supports legalizing abortion in the case of rape, incest, and fatal fetal abnormalities. While the future of Irish abortion law still remains unclear, it is necessary to inform everyone on the facts. Below is a video from the Irish Family Planning Association that provides key information and statistics.
I had the opportunity to live in Ireland for several months and saw first-hand how many wanted abortion law liberalized. I even attended a pro-choice rally and witnessed a
pro-life anti-choice rally. Irish officials cannot continue to ignore this topic and must combat the severe stigma associated with abortion.
Recommended Reading: Why can’t a women get a life-saving abortion in Ireland? [Feminist Ire] On the Ground: Access to Abortion in Ireland [Human Rights Watch]