Two years ago, Ireland lost a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights brought by three Irish women who said their health had been needlessly jeopardized by the lack of any explicit, clear Irish abortion laws.
The court agreed with litigants that Ireland failed to provide clear access to information on when abortions could be performed lawfully in the country. It also ruled that one woman, a cancer survivor in remission, should have received clear medical advice in Ireland as to whether her pregnancy posed a severe risk to her health. She ended up researching her medical circumstances on the Internet, then traveling to England for an abortion, but suffered severe medical complications because of the delay involved.
Approximately 4,000 women travel from the Republic of Ireland annually for abortions in England, where the practice was legalized in 1967.