Ireland under New Abortion Law Spotlight in Strasbourg

Press release, for immediate release Dublin, 5 December 2012

Only weeks after the tragic death in Galway University Hospital of Savita Halappanavar, Ireland’s abortion laws are once again under the spotlight at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today (5 December 2012).

In its December 2010 judgment in the case of A, B and C v Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland had violated the human rights of a woman who had been unable to determine whether or not she qualified for a lawful abortion.

Two years later, Ireland has just presented a new “Action Plan” outlining how it will implement this legally-binding judgment.  The State’s Action Plan will be assessed by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the political governing body of the European human rights authority, which is meeting in Strasbourg today.

Ireland’s human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has welcomed the Government’s Action Plan promise to ensure that the judgment is “implemented expeditiously”, which the Council claims will require speedy reform of Ireland’s “wholly outmoded” abortion laws.  However, the ICCL has also called for greater clarity regarding the precise timescale within which the necessary legal measures will be introduced.

ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

“It is positive that the Government has given a firm commitment to decide on the nature of abortion law reform by 20 December 2012 at the latest. However, the Committee of Ministers, which has exclusive authority over the implementation of this legally-binding judgment, will be seeking a clear deadline from the Irish authorities for the implementation of Ireland’s new legal regime for lawful abortions.”

“Despite the Government’s expressed intention to implement this judgment expeditiously, two years after the Court’s decision, pregnant women seeking lawful terminations remain in legal limbo.  It is essential that the Government rapidly confirm the precise timetable within which Ireland’s wholly outmoded abortion laws will be reformed”, Mr Kelly added.

Mark Kelly is available for further comment.

For further information contact:

Walter Jayawardene
Communications Manager
Irish Council for Civil Liberties
9-13 Blackhall Place
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel. + 353 1 799 4503
Mob: +353 87 9981574   
Fax. + 353 1 799 4512
 
E-mail  walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie
Web     www.iccl.ie

Note to editors:

The Government’s new 3-page “Action Plan” on the implementation of the judgment in the case of A, B and C v Ireland can be downloaded from the website of the Council of Europe at this link: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=DH-DD(2012)1124&Language=lanEnglish&Site=CM

A submission by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the implementation of the judgment can be downloaded from the same website at this link: https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=DH-DD(2012)882&Language=lanEnglish&Site=CM


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