Expedite, already

It’s good that someone is paying attention. The European Court of Human Rights is.

A  report from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Committee of Ministers published yesterday has called on the [Irish] Government to implement legislation to deal with abortion.

So that women won’t be refused medically indicated abortions because doctors and hospitals are afraid of prosecution.

In its sixth annual report, Supervision of theExecution of Judgments and Decisions of the ECHR, the committee of ministers urged the Government to “expedite” the implementation of the A, B and C judgment on abortion, delivered by the ECHR in 2010.

The judgment is included in a list of cases requiring “enhanced supervision” to ensure implementation.

The A, B and C judgment found the absence of any implementing legislative or regulatory regime which provided an “accessible and effective procedure” to establish the “possibilities for a lawful abortion where there is a risk to the mother’s life” was in breach of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Let’s hope Ireland’s government is listening.

The committee said “the general prohibition on abortion in criminal law constitutes a significant chilling factor for women and doctors due to the risk of criminal conviction and imprisonment”. It “invited the Irish authorities to take all necessary measures”, to implement the judgment.

As Dr Astbury has just been confirming.


  1. alai says

    Unfortunately, the ECHR hasn’t determined that there’s essentially any right to an abortion at all, so it’s not clear what they’d ever do about Poland. Rather, they’re getting on Ireland’s case because its governments have failed to give legal effect to the position that the supreme court that determined follows from ireland’s own constitution.

    For comparison, the “X Case legislation” referred is less broad in scope than even one of the three categories under which terminations are permissible in Poland (life and health of the mother, with no provision at all for rape or severe foetal abnormality). That’s the legislation that’s currently in the process of being brought to the Irish parliament, with at best lukewarm support from the two traditionally-largest parties, and openly hostile opposition from the Catholic hierarchy.

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