The author examines Ireland's Supreme Court decision in the X case and its effects on this country's constitutionally entrenched position of fetal rights. This decision is found to be inadequate for women’s groups and their supporters because of the Court’s adoption of ‘proper candidates’ for abortions. The Irish government’s subsequent efforts to strike a balance between the competing interests only serve to create more ambiguity in determining the legal status of abortion in Ireland. Further, the legal amendments and judicial interpretation of the X case have not substantially liberalized Ireland’s abortion policy, creating opportunity for more feminist discourse and activism. Finally, the proposed referendum in 2002 is summarized and the issues left unresolved by the government’s proposal are examined. The author outlines’ the risks of encroachment on the already limited rights to Irish women’s reproductive freedoms and bodily integrity.
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