Saturday, February 16, 2013
The recent death of a
woman from septicaemia following a miscarriage has focused attention on the
legal regime regulating the carrying out of abortions within Ireland. The point
of this piece is not to discuss the merits of the current controversy but
instead to provide some brief background to Ireland’s constitutional position
and to identify some of the aspects of the current regime that have given rise
to particular difficulties: an exercise which may have wider significance,
given the recent trend in various American states to follow the Irish approach
of conferring constitutional protection on the unborn.
The piece considers whether the Irish experience suggests that the ‘resolution’ of a controversial issue at the constitutional level may discourage political action by providing sufficient legal authority, however imprecise, to make legislative inaction a viable, if inefficient, option.
The piece was originally posted on the I-Connect blog.