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Irish Abortion Ban Challenged in the European Court of Human Rights

A case challenging Ireland’s ban on abortion will be held today in the European Court of Human Rights. The case, A, B and C v Republic of Ireland, will be heard in Strasbourg.

The women first issued the complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in 2005, on the grounds the ban jeopardised their ‘health and well-being’, as well as conflicting with their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.  They argue the Republic of Ireland breached their human rights under Articles 2 (Right to Life), 3 (Prohibition of Torture), 8 (Right to Respect for Family and Private Life) and 14 (Prohibition of Discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Many women from the Republic of Ireland travel abroad, especially to Great Britain, to access abortion services. Being forced to travel abroad can be a very lengthy and costly process, and which can pose a significant risk to a woman’s health.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Public Affairs Officer, said, ‘The ability of a woman to have control of her own body is a basic human right. It is the BHA’s position that women should have the choice to access safe, legal and free abortion, should they want one. Should they win this case, it is possible the effects could be significant even on our domestic law. At present, women in Northern Ireland are not afforded the same rights to access abortion as women in the rest in the UK. They too must travel to access abortion services and even when they do travel to  Great Britain, they do not have access to free abortions on the NHS.’


Read more about this case.

Read, for more information about the BHA’s position on abortion.

For further information, please contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585.

The British Humanist Association is the national charity representing and supporting the interests of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.

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