The High Court ruling today means that, at last, the family at the heart of this most recent tragedy will have their wishes respected, and will be able to lay their child to rest. Our deepest sympathies are with them. We regret that because of the law in our country, they experienced weeks of additional and unnecessary trauma.
As a result of the lack of legal clarity that exists in Ireland because of the 8th Amendment, the only way healthcare professionals could be sure they were not breaking the law was to ask the courts for clarification. This case has again underscored the chilling effect the 8th Amendment and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act have on healthcare providers and their patients.
The Abortion Rights Campaign (ARC) will examine carefully the detail of this case and the judgement in the coming days. While it is not immediately clear what effect this ruling will have on future cases, it is clear that while the 8th Amendment remains in our Constitution, there will be more hard cases in our future.
There is an urgent need to repeal the unworkable 8th Amendment, to ensure that the right to make difficult decisions rests with women, their families and their healthcare providers. The 8th Amendment casts a long shadow over maternal health rights in Ireland and has an effect on every woman who becomes pregnant.