Advancing Abortion Law Reform in Ireland


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The Center for Reproductive Rights worked for several years for reform of Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion law, which was in place until 2018 when the Irish electorate voted by a resounding majority to remove the prohibition on abortion. The Center worked closely with many civil society organizations in Ireland to support the advocacy efforts for legal reform. We shared analysis and recommendations from international human rights law and standards and comparative law as well as public health evidence with key stakeholders.

The Center also won two cases before the United Nations Human Rights Committee, on behalf of Amanda Mellet and Siobhán Whelan, in which the Committee held that Ireland had subjected each woman to cruel and inhuman treatment as a result of its legal prohibition on abortion, had violated their rights to privacy and equality before the law, and was obliged to reform its law on abortion. The Committee’s landmark rulings were cited in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment as one of three critical reason why constitutional reform on abortion was necessary.