26th February 1992
This day in history...The Irish Supreme Court allows 14 year old rape victim to get an abortionIreland's heavily catholic views and lack of separation of church and state has often caught many people, especially women, in a tangled web.
The 'X' case: When a 14 year old girl became pregnant from statuary rape by a neighbour, she was told she could not leave the country to abort the baby. She was encouraged by the courts and Ireland's Minister of health to give birth and have the baby adopted. The girl was essentially a prisoner in her own country and was experiencing suicidal thoughts due to her ordeal and unwanted pregnancy. Approaching the 12 weeks mark of her pregnancy, something needed to be done. Human Rights were very much behind the case, stating that "citizens must be able to leave Ireland to obtain services legally available in another community nation." The courts finally allowed the girl to freely travel to England to have the abortion, but this showed the hypocrisy in the view on abortion; instead of addressing it directly, Ireland willingly exported its problems.
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It is estimated, around the 1990s, that 4,000 women a year travel from Ireland to England to obtain an abortion and approximately 180,000 legal abortions were recorded in England and Wales in 1992. The case sparked some controversy and some members of the court, anti-abortion groups and the media argued that pro-abortion groups had exploited the girls case in order to change Irish law. Controversy and issues with abortions still continue in Ireland today with many cases being used by both sides of the argument.
The questions to ask here is; Is church and state better off in separate spheres? And, What are your thoughts on the abortion argument in Ireland? Please leave your comments below.