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Got to admit… May 7, 2013

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Bioethics, Culture, Feminism, Irish Politics.
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Jacky Jones in the Irish Times,former HSE regional manager of health promotion, is a voice of reason on a range of issues from private schools through to reproductive rights.

Unfortunately the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013 will not protect or vindicate women’s reproductive rights. The name change – removing the word “maternal” from the title – means there is still ambiguity about whether the woman’s life or that of the foetus is prioritised. It is only a matter of time before another Irish woman asks the European Court of Human Rights to protect and vindicate her right to terminate a pregnancy because her health, as distinct from her life, is not protected by the proposed legislation. In the meantime, Irish women will have to rely on the kindness of strangers in the UK.

Very true.

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1. smiffy - May 7, 2013

It’s a good piece. I would doubt, though, that any case brought before the ECHR claiming a right to an abortion on the grounds of risk to health would be successful, though. The Court has – until now anyway – been very reticent about vindicating any right to abortion. Even the judgement in the ABC case was very limited.

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WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2013

That’s a very good point.

That caveat raised, I think the tone is what is so striking. No messing about, straight to the point.

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Wendy Lyon - May 8, 2013

One thing that the Savita case showed us, particularly Dr Astbury’s testimony, is the illusory nature of the distinction between “life” and “health”. I don’t think it’s inconceivable that the ECtHR would rule in favour of a woman who had a similar illness which had the potential to turn into a risk to her life.

As I wrote about here I think this could be challenged as a breach of the right to health under UN human rights law, but Ireland will have to ratify the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR first.

One point about the article though – it was the women’s liberation movement who invented the phrase “abortion on demand”, not the anti-choicers.

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