Procedural Abortion Rights: Ireland and the European Court of Human Rights

Document Type


Publication Date



Abortion Law And Policy, Legal Reform, Europe, Irish Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, Ireland, European Court of Human Rights, International Procedural Rights


The Irish Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act seeks to clarify the legal ground for abortion in cases of risk to life, and to create procedures to regulate women’s access to services under it. This article explores the new law as the outcome of an international human rights litigation strategy premised on state duties to implement abortion laws through clear standards and procedural safeguards. It focuses specifically on the Irish law reform and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, including A. B. and C. v. Ireland (2010). The article examines how procedural rights at the international level can engender domestic law reform that limits or expands women’s access to lawful abortion services, serving conservative or progressive ends.



SRHM is an open access journal from 2017 onward; articles before this are the property of Taylor and Francis.