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IFPA Welcomes Landmark Decision for Women

Source: http://www.ifpa.ie

The Irish Family Planning Association (FPA) said that today is a landmark day for women in Ireland. It welcomed the unanimous decision by the European Court of Human Rights that abortion, in certain circumstances, should be legalised in Ireland.

This decision by European Court of Human Rights reaffirms the Supreme Court X Case judgment of 1992 and two preceding referenda. Critically, the unanimous view of the Court that women’s rights in Ireland have been violated sends a very strong message that the State can no longer ignore the imperative to legislate for abortion.

Speaking following the delivery of the judgement on a case taken by three women to the European Court of Human Rights, the Chief Executive of the IFPA, Niall Behan, said: “Today’s decision is a landmark one for Ireland and, in particular, for women and girls. The very considered and clear view of the European Court of Human Rights leaves no option available to the Irish State other than to legislate for abortion services in cases where a woman’s life is at risk.

“As a first and immediate step, we are calling on the Government to set out how it intends to address today’s ruling, and ensure that no further violations of human rights take place because of the State’s failure to offer safe and legal abortion services in – albeit – limited circumstances. We don’t need another constitutional referendum, nor do we need any further court judgments. Simple and clear legislation, guided by the judgement of the European Court of Human Right’s Grand Chamber, is all that is required to afford women their human rights in Ireland. Such legislation could be prepared and passed by the Oireachtas within a short number of days.

“Furthermore, the Court has pointed to significant shortcomings in medical practice in relation to the protection of a woman’s life. Guidelines and practices now need to reflect today’s judgement. This will offer clarity and offer protection to both women and their doctors,” said Mr Behan.

Commenting on the European Court of Human Rights decision not to make specific recommendations in relation to abortion beyond where the life of the woman is at risk, Mr Behan said: “The Court has clearly indicated that there are some serious human rights implications for women who are denied abortion services in Ireland across a range of circumstances. It recognised the harm that befell all of three women who took their case to the Court. Rather than offering a specific verdict, it has left it up to the Irish State to decide on abortion policy in broader circumstances, beyond where the life of a woman is at risk.

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