Suicide and Abortion: Analysing the Legislative Options in Ireland
11 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2013 Last revised: 27 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 24, 2013
The Irish government is currently drafting the first piece of legislation that would regulate the availability of abortion in Ireland. This follows both the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 (recognizing equal rights to life of pregnant women and ‘the unborn’), the Supreme Court decision in Attorney General v. X (confirming that there is a limited right to access abortion), and the European Court of Human Rights decision in A, B & C v. Ireland (finding Ireland in violation of the ECHR for failing to clearly outline how that right can be accessed). A major point of contention remains how, if at all, to regulate the availability of abortion in cases of suicidal ideation. This paper considers two mooted possibilities — to exclude suicide altogether or to carve out a particular scheme in the legislation for suicide alone — against both legal and practical considerations. Against both of these perspectives the paper argues that the exclusion of suicide and its separate treatment are both problematic; neither appears either mandated or required when measured by means of legal and practical considerations, although a pragmatic perspective may indicate that a separate scheme for suicidality would be introduced.
Keywords: abortion, Ireland
JEL Classification: I18, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation