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After the 8th: Ireland, Abortion, and International Law
McMahon, Aisling; Ní Ghráinne, Bríd
By repealing the 8th amendment, the Irish people gave its government a strong mandate to liberalize its restrictive abortion laws. In this paper, we argue that international law has a significant role to play in the drafting, interpretation and monitoring of Ireland’s future proposed abortion law framework. We explore the relationship between international and domestic law, and argue that there are three key roles for international law in the current abortion context, namely: (1) ensuring at a minimum that new abortion laws are drafted in a way which respects Ireland’s international law obligations; (2) ensuring that laws are interpreted and implemented in a way which facilitates practical and effective access to abortion, and (3) providing avenues to challenge obstacles to securing legally available abortion services in Ireland. In making these arguments, we acknowledge that although Ireland is party to a variety of international law treaties which set out obligations in respect of abortion access, these obligations were conspicuously absent from the abortion debate in the lead up to the referendum. We argue that this stemmed from confusion around the extent of Ireland’s obligations in this context and the relationship between domestic and international law. In our view, international law’s lack of salience in the past is highly regrettable and we argue that it is vital that we do not repeat past mistakes. In short, engaging more closely with Ireland’s obligations in international law will play a key role in ensuring that the Irish government does not to waste this once in a generation opportunity.
Keyword(s): Abortion; International Law; 8th Amendment; Ireland
Publication Date:
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Institution: Maynooth University
Citation(s): McMahon, Aisling and Ní Ghráinne, Bríd (2019) After the 8th: Ireland, Abortion, and International Law. Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland. ISSN 1393-1792
Publisher(s): Thomson Reuters (Professional) Ireland Ltd.
File Format(s): other
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First Indexed: 2020-04-02 06:14:29 Last Updated: 2020-10-06 06:19:49