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27th November 2012

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has welcomed the publishing of the Expert Group Report on the A, B and C v Ireland judgment.  It has urged the Government, in the strongest possible terms and as a matter of urgency, to repeal the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and introduce medical guidelines in relation to lawful abortion.

According to the IFPA, This option fulfils the requirements of the A, B and C judgment, and it provides for appropriate checks and balances between the powers of the legislature and the executive.

The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) Chief Executive, Niall Behan, said: “The Expert Group has sent a very strong message to the Government that it can no longer ignore the imperative to legislate for abortion in limited circumstances. The Expert Group report clearly indicates that the Council of Europe will not be satisfied with guidelines or secondary legislation.

“The Irish Government must now move to restore Ireland’s tarnished human rights reputation by swiftly giving effect to the constitutional right to abortion, established 20 years ago in the Supreme Court judgment in the X Case, and give legal clarity to women and their doctors on when an abortion may be lawfully available within the State.

“The introduction of substantive and comprehensive measures, including, but not limited to legislation will provide some clarity as to the application of the law in relation to abortion.  It would give doctors sufficient discretion to act promptly in the best interests of pregnant women.”

The full Expert Group Report can be viewed here.


CONTACT:  Catherine Heaney, DHR Communications @ 087-2309835

Notes to Editors:

About A, B & C v Ireland:

In December 2010, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its verdict in the case of A, B and C v Ireland − a landmark challenge to Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.

The Court found that Ireland’s highly restrictive abortion laws violate women’s human rights and that abortion, when a woman’s life is at risk, should be lawfully available in Ireland.

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.

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.