14 September 2011
The Irish Government’s response to the landmark A, B & C v Ireland judgment at the European Court of Human Rights is being examined at a high-level meeting of members of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers taking place in Strasbourg this week (Tuesday and Wednesday).
Last December, the European Court of Human Rights unanimously found that Ireland’s abortion law violates women’s human rights and that abortion, when a woman’s life is at risk, should be lawfully available in Ireland.
The Government’s response to the court’s judgment to set up yet another expert group shows a clear lack of leadership, according to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).
IFPA Chief Executive Niall Behan said: “The IFPA views the Irish Government’s response to the judgment as wholly inadequate. The State has ignored the central concerns of the Court. The establishment of an Expert Group is unnecessary and represents a considered avoidance by the State of its duty to execute the judgment. The Court has already criticised the State for failing to act on recommendations of the three previous government committees that have already considered Ireland’s regulation of abortion.
“Every day the Irish State fails to reform its restrictive abortion laws, it is violating the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and showing a complete disregard for Irish women’s constitutional rights. The IFPA hopes that the Committee of Ministers will reject the State’s action plan and request a revised action plan with a concrete commitment to enact legislation to implement the ruling of the Court and give legal clarity to women and their doctors on the circumstances in which abortion is lawfully available within the state.”
CONTACT: Fiona Tyrrell, IFPA Communications Officer, 01 607 4456 or 086 7952167
Note To Editors:
- Read the IFPA’s submission to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in relation to the Irish Government’s implementation of the A, B & C v Ireland judgment
- Read the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) submission to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in relation to the Irish Government’s implementation of the A, B & C v Ireland judgment
- Read the Irish Government’s Action Plan for the implementation of the A, B & C v Ireland judgment
About A, B & C v Ireland:
In December 2010, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its verdict in the case of A, B & C v Ireland − a landmark challenge to Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws. The Court unanimously found that Ireland’s failure to give effect to the existing constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland when a woman’s life is at risk violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The decision reaffirmed the Supreme Court X Case judgment of 1992 and sent a very strong message to the State that it can no longer ignore the imperative to legislate for the provision of life-saving abortion services.
The case was taken by three women, supported by the IFPA, who travelled abroad for abortion services. They argued that the criminalisation of abortion services in Ireland jeopardised their health and wellbeing, in violation of a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case was heard before the Court’s Grand Chamber of 17 judges, which is reserved to hear cases that raise serious questions affecting the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
About the IFPA
The IFPA is Ireland’s leading sexual health charity. The IFPA offers a comprehensive range of services which promote sexual health and support reproductive choice on a not-for-profit basis, including clinical and counselling services, sexual and reproductive health information, education and training.
In 2010 the IFPA provided pregnancy counselling and advice to 4,740 clients through our pregnancy counselling network of 11 centres and our national pregnancy helpline. These services are offered to women, girls and couples for free and are provided by professional accredited psychotherapists and counsellors.