New article on Irish abortion law (Enright & de Londras)

B4kdwNXCAAAWc3jUpdate I have now attached pre-print version of the article to this post.

My latest article, co-authored with Màiréad Enright (Kent), has just been published. Part of a special issue of the Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland to reflect on the first year of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, the conclusion of the paper presents a summarised version of the argument thus:

The cases of Miss Y and Savita Halappanavar demonstrate that the Eighth Amendment has been reduced, over the years, to a catalogue of anomalies, unexplained readings, missed opportunities and speculative silences. Although the constitutional text might be applied in a manner that more appropriately recognises women’s autonomy as well as their rights to health, bodily integrity and privacy, this would require a fundamental shift in the interpretation of Art.40.3.3°, led either by the judiciary or the Oireachtas. This is a highly unlikely prospect owing to a likely reluctance by the judiciary to engage in such activism in the field of abortion jurisprudence, given the political fallout from the X case, probable political resistance to grasping the nettle of abortion law reform and cross-party disagreement on the appropriate legal regime in Ireland. In this sort of instance, constitutional reform by means of a referendum is clearly required. The shape of such reform might be decided following a period of consultation, perhaps by means of a specially-convened constitutional convention. However, before that can happen, we must agree, in principle, that the status quo is unsustainable. The cases of Miss Y and Savita Halappanavar, which frame this article, bring the hardship caused by the Eighth Amendment into stark relief.

The full citation is Mairead Enright & Fiona de Londras, “‘Empty Without and Empty Within’: the Unworkability of the Eighth Amendment after Savita Halappanavar & Miss Y” (2014) 20 Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland 85

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fdelondras

Professor of Global Legal Studies, Birmingham. Lawyer, foodie, wonk, avid traveller.

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