European Journal of Women's Studies 19 (4):413-427 (2012)

Claims concerning the death of the nation-state are often accompanied by postnationalist arguments that emphasize the potential of human rights to contest nation-bounded conceptualizations of membership. Conversely, arguments focusing on the continuing importance of state-bounded social citizenship rights undermine such postnationalist claims. To assess these claims, this article turns to the Irish state and its prohibition of abortion except in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. The authors focus their analysis on four legal cases that unfolded between 1992 and 2010. These cases reflect how specific women’s social location within interconnected power hierarchies of nationality, gender, class, race/ethnicity positioned them differently vis-a-vis the Irish state, international and supranational bodies. Furthermore, the transnational, in the form of immigration, non-governmental organizations and the Catholic Church, plays an important role in structuring the context within which these cases unfold. Rather than showing that the international, supranational and transnational are conduits for the declining power of the nation-state, this article finds that in the increasingly dense legal-political field there is room for all of these forces.
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DOI 10.1177/1350506812466580
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