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Council of Europe gives 'thumbs up' to proposed abortion laws

The Committee of Ministers, which is responsible for upholding ECtHR rulings, expresses “satisfaction” with Ireland’s plans.

Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A, B and C, reads the European Court of Human Rights' ruling in the case in December 2010.
Carmel Stewart, a lawyer for A, B and C, reads the European Court of Human Rights' ruling in the case in December 2010.
Image: Christian Lutz/AP

THE BODY RESPONSIBLE for overseeing the implementation of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights has expressed its approval of Ireland’s plans to legislate for abortion in limited circumstances.

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has said it welcomes the publication of the heads of the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill, which is currently being finalised after a series of Oireachtas hearings to scrutinise the legislation.

The ministers, meeting in Strasbourg yesterday, said the bill “constitutes an important step toward executing the judgment” in the A, B and C ruling.

It affirmed its expectation that the legislation, and the adjoining regulations, should have legal effect by the end of next month.

The ministers noted “with satisfaction the significant progress made” and “encouraged the authorities to continue their efforts to  ensure full compliance with the judgment”.

The Irish Family Planning Association had written the committee this expressing concerns that the legislation would not fulfil the criteria of the ruling, as it would make a constitutional right to abortion completely inaccessible.

Read: No free vote gives ‘hallmark of a totalitarian regime’ to abortion bill

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Gavan Reilly

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