Debating Reproductive Rights in Ireland
Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 78-104, 2005
27 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2010
Date Written: February 22, 2005
Women's reproductive autonomy has gained limited recognition at the international level. This recognition has been difficult to secure and remains contentious. This article examines the struggle for reproductive autonomy within the context of the abortion debate in Ireland, where reproductive rights particularly and women's human rights generally have often been portrayed as hostile to cultural and national sovereignty. The entanglement of religious and nationalist principles with the struggle for reproductive autonomy in Ireland demonstrates the ways in which gender identities and roles are given greater or lesser weight depending on their "fit" with state interests and the ongoing process of nation-building. Lost within these negotiations and compromises is a recognition of the universal legitimacy of women's human rights claims.
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