Mar 06 2018 Posted: 16:14 GMT

Reforming abortion law and policy is a highly contested process. The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway is hosting an international seminar exploring key debates in the law and politics relating to abortion.

As the mooted date for a referendum on Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution draws closer, the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway has drawn together a number of prominent human rights advocates and academics to consider the challenges and possibilities of abortion law in the event of a post-Eighth Amendment Ireland.

Professor Siobhán Mullally of NUI Galway, commented: “Abortion law reform and policy is highly contested in Ireland and elsewhere. This international seminar provides an opportunity to reflect on the regulation of abortion and on the litigation, politics and law reform processes taking place in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the US.”

Speakers include Professor Carol Sanger from Columbia University, who recently published the book, About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America, and Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Irish Human Rights Commission, who has led strategic litigation on abortion law reform in Northern Ireland.

Responses from the Irish law and policy reform perspective will be delivered by Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, focusing on the context of abortion law reform and human rights standards. Professor Eilionóir Flynn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, will address abortion law reform and the rights of people with disabilities.

Professor Carol Sanger from the School of Law, Columbia University, commented: “This discussion presents the United States as a case study of how forty years of decriminalisation has not normalised abortion as a reproductive practice. Indeed, the storm around it has become increasingly virulent, especially under the Trump administration.”

As Professor Sanger’s book notes, abortion is one of the most private decisions a woman can make, and is also one of the most contentious topics in American civic life. Until recently, stigma and hostility stifled women’s willingness to talk about abortion, and also distorted public and political discussion on abortion law reform.

The seminar will take place in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway on Friday, 9 March from 11am- 2pm.

Advance registration is required at:

The event is in association with NUI Galway’s Gender ARC (Advanced Research Consortium on Gender, Culture and the Knowledge Society).


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