Abortion in Ireland: An Analysis of the Legal Transformation Resulting from Membership in the European Union

Posted: 28 Oct 2003

See all articles by Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Abstract

Since gaining its independence from Britain, the Republic of Ireland has effectuated certain policies of the Catholic Church. Because nearly ninety percent of Ireland's four million citizens are Catholic, one clearly sees how Church pressures influence politics and everyday life in Ireland. One example of this influence is reflected in Ireland's policy on abortion: abortion has long been, and continues to be, illegal in Ireland. Within the last decade, however, a shift in public attitude on abortion has slowly evolved among the Irish people and Irish jurisprudence.

This Article considers recent Irish policy on abortion and outlines the struggle, legal challenges, and attitudinal shifts brought about by the strengthening of the European Union and its vastly different view of abortion. The article begins by reviewing the history of abortion in Ireland before analyzing Ireland's participation in the European Community and the Community's enormous effect on Ireland's abortion policy. The article then examines the trilogy of cases that significantly shifted Irish policy regarding the right to information and the right to travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, details the legislative activity passed as a result of the trilogy of cases impacting abortion law in Ireland, and examines the most recent notable abortion case and the resulting public reaction. Finally, the article reviews the latest government attempt to clarify the law, criticizes the current law and discusses possible solutions to the present uncertainty.

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Mercurio, Bryan Christopher, Abortion in Ireland: An Analysis of the Legal Transformation Resulting from Membership in the European Union. Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law, Vol. 11, pp. 141-180, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=457180

Bryan Christopher Mercurio (Contact Author)

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,498
PlumX Metrics