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Ireland is told to provide legal abortions for women whose lives are at risk

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 17 December 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c7277
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

Women in the Irish Republic will have to be given the means to access legal abortions there if their lives are at risk, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a landmark judgment.

The ruling, by the grand chamber of the Strasbourg court, can not be appealed and will require Ireland to legislate or otherwise set up a framework to decide whether there is a “real and substantial risk” to a woman’s life if she goes ahead with her pregnancy.

The court held that the human rights of a woman with a rare cancer were violated when she was obliged to travel to the United Kingdom for an abortion and awarded her €15 000 (£12 700; $19 800) in …

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