Abortion in Europe

December 20th, 2010
Abortion in Europe

The recent European High Court ruling on Irish abortion laws has provoked widespread debate on the subject of abortion.

Recently, three women took their cases to the European Court of Human Rights after they were not permitted to have an abortion in Irelamd; they claimed that their health was put at risk by having to travel abroad for the procedure. Abortion is illegal in Ireland and is only made possible if the woman’s life is at risk.

The court ruled that one of the women’s human rights had been violated; she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer when she fell pregnant and was not permitted to have an abortion, despite the fact that her life was potentially at risk. The court ruled that the rights of the other two women had not been violated.

Ireland is notoriously strict when it comes to the issue of abortion but there are many other European countries with similar attitudes to the issue; in Malta, abortion is banned completely and restrictions are in place in several other countries. In the UK, patients must first be referred by two doctors to have an abortion.

The issue of abortion is complex and as the recent European Court confirms, there are many grey areas and blurred boundaries.

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