Last month, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights heard a challenge to Ireland’s restrictive abortion law, one of the most stringent in the region. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the University of Toronto Law School filed an friend-of-the-court brief in the case in September 2008.
Ireland Bans Abortion to Protect a Woman’s Health
Ireland criminalizes abortion in almost all circumstances even threatening women who violate the law with life imprisonment. Abortion is only allowed when there is a real or substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman, there are no exceptions for a woman’s health or for victims of rape or incest. At least 138,000 women have had to travel abroad to access safe abortion services since 1980.
Ireland’s Abortion Law Violates International and European Human Rights Standards
The case, ABC v. Ireland, was brought by three Irish women who argue that the law endangers their health and wellbeing and violates their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Our brief focuses on international and European human rights standards to show how out of step Ireland’s abortion law is with the rest of the region: 44 out of 47 countries in the Council of Europe provide for abortion to protect women’s health and almost all of them also allow access to abortion on request