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Eur J Health Law. 2013 Apr;20(2):117-43.

Abortion for foetal abnormalities in Ireland; the limited scope of the Irish Government's response to the A, B and C judgment.

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Griffith College, Dublin, Ireland.


Abortion has been a controversial topic in Irish law and one which the Government has been forced to address following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v. Ireland. The Working Group established to make recommendations have specifically been instructed to deal only with the issues raised in the A, B and C judgment and legislate on the basic of the 'X case'. This restricted approach calls for legalisation of abortion only where the life of the mother is at risk, a position unique only to Ireland and Andorra within Europe. The vast majority of member states to the European Convention on Human Rights allow for legal abortion on the basis of foetal abnormality and with this emerging consensus the margin of appreciation hitherto afforded by the European Court to member states is diminishing. The advancement and availability of non-invasive genetic tests that can determine foetal abnormalities together with the ruling in R. R. v. Poland leaves Ireland in a precarious position for omitting any reference to foetal abnormalities in any proposed legislation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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