Will the European Court of Human Rights force Ireland to introduce abortion ‘on demand’?

To date, the European Court of Human Rights has said that it is up to every individual state to decide whether and, if so, when to allow for lawful abortion.

In states where abortion is legal on limited grounds, the state must make sure that women who are legally entitled to access an abortion are able to do so in practice. For example, the state must take steps to ensure that women do not experience unnecessary delays in accessing treatment.

It is extremely unlikely that this will change in the foreseeable future, especially as international human rights law does not recognise a right to abortion ‘on demand’. Instead, it establishes a right to access abortion in cases of rape, incest, and ‘fatal foetal anomaly’.Read More »