The European court of Human Rights or ECHR, as it is called has made a huge decision that supports women in choice. In its first judgment against Ireland since 1988, the ECHR has ruled in favor of a woman who was forced to seek an abortion in England in 2005, despite the health risks to the cancer survivor.
With over four million Catholics in Ireland, abortion is only legal, in three kinds of circumstances. The mother must have cervical cancer, preclampsia or be suffering from an ectopic pregnancy.
The woman who won the ruling, only know as ďCĒ, won the U.S. equivalent of $20,000.
The ECHR chastised Irelandís government for leaving the law so vague, and for violating the rights of the womanís private life.
The ruling will force Ireland to at the very least, make its terms very specific.
What it means for women in Ireland is monumental.
Irelandís law against abortion dates back to 1861, and even in the cases deemed sufficient reasons for abortion, doctors in Ireland are too fearful of prosecution to perform them. Women of Ireland are forced to travel to surrounding states where abortion is legal, making it impossible for some, by distance, and cost.
These women have enough on their plates, without being forced to figure out how to come up with the funds and the transportation, to a place foreign to most of them.
Forcing a change of the law to make things more specific, will at the very least, ease the minds of some of those doctors, to perform abortions in the three circumstances that make it legal. Itís also a much needed shove in the right direction to make Ireland consider the law be changed to legalized abortion for all woman whose lives are endangered by the pregnancy.
Obviously, it is not the same as reproductive freedom. Far from it. Nevertheless, it has opened the door, and forced discussion and compromise. It has given the women of Ireland hope for the future.
I hope that someday all the women of Ireland will have the same voice as the women that fall into three slim categories.