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Government urged to legislate for X case, 20 years after court decision

More than 50 groups, TDs, academics and NGOs have today called on the government to legislate for the right to abortion in Ireland when a woman’s life is in danger.

Members of Action on X Alliance pictured outside the Dáil earlier this month protesting at successive government failure to legislate for the X case
Members of Action on X Alliance pictured outside the Dáil earlier this month protesting at successive government failure to legislate for the X case
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MORE THAN 50 groups, TDs, academics, and NGOs have called on the government to legislate for the X case, twenty years to the day after the original  High Court injunction which triggered a massive debate across Irish society.

TDs Patrick Nulty, Clare Daly, Ciara Conway, and Mick Wallace,  as well as groups including the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Irish Family Planning Association have all urged the government to legislate on abortion following the 1992 ruling.

Successive governments have failed to legislate on the Supreme Court decision which found that women have the right to an abortion in Ireland if their life is in danger, including from suicide.

The call was made by the Action on X Alliance, a grouping of individuals and groups which campaigns on the issue.

“It is 20 years since the Supreme Court directed that legislation should be passed to allow women to end pregnancies when their lives are in danger,” said Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

“Since then, and despite two subsequent referenda, six governments have shamefully failed to act on this ruling”.

Labour TD Patrick Nulty said that 20 years of inaction on the case had been “20 years too long”.

“I am determined that this government will not go down the road of successive previous governments of ignoring this issue,” the Dublin West TD said.

The X case proved deeply divisive for Irish society. Following actions by the then-Attorney General, the High Court issued an injunction banning a pregnant 14-year-old from leaving the country to terminate her pregnancy, which was the result of rape.

Two weeks later, the Supreme Court ruled that when  a woman’s life is in danger, including from suicide, she has the right to an abortion in Ireland.  However no government has yet legislated for this.

In pictures: The 20th anniversary of X case protests >

Twenty years on: a timeline of the X case >

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