Attorney General v. X

Attorney General v. X

Attorney General v. X or the X Case was a 1992 Supreme Court of Ireland case which established the right of Irish women to an abortion if a pregnant woman's life was at risk because of pregnancy, including the risk of suicide.

The case involved a 14-year-old girl (named only as "X" in the courts and the media to protect her identity) who had been raped by a neighbour and became pregnant. X told her mother of suicidal thoughts because of the unwanted pregnancy, and as abortion was illegal in Ireland, the family travelled to England for an abortion. Before the abortion was carried out, the family asked the Garda Síochána if DNA from the aborted foetus would be admissible as evidence in the courts, as the neighbour was denying responsibility.

Hearing that X planned to have an abortion, the Attorney-General, Harry Whelehan sought an injunction under Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland preventing her. The injunction was granted by Justice Declan Costello in the High Court.

The High Court injunction was appealed to the Supreme Court, which overturned it by a majority of three to two. The majority opinion held that a woman had a right to an abortion under Article 40.3.3 if there was "a real and substantial risk" to her life. This right did not exist if there was a risk to her health but not her life; however it did exist if the risk was the possibility of suicide.

X had a miscarriage shortly after the judgement before an abortion could be carried out.

The case resulted in three proposed constitutional amendments on the issue of abortion, referendums for which were held on 25 November, 1992:
*Twelfth Amendmentndash the so-called "substantive issue". Proposed that the prohibition on abortions would apply even in cases where the mother was suicidal
*Thirteenth Amendmentndash specified that the prohibition on abortion would not limit the freedom of pregnant women to travel out of the country
*Fourteenth Amendmentndash specified that the prohibition of abortion would not limit the right to distribute information about abortion services in foreign countries

The thirteenth and fourteenth amendments were ratified but the twelfth was rejected.

ee also

*Censorship in the Republic of Ireland#Formerly censored topics
*Twenty-fifth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2002

External links

* [,0,416773.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines Pending case of "D" 17-year-old with anencephalic fetus v. Judge Brennan]
* [ A.G. v. X (1992) IESC 1; (1992) 1 IR 1 (5th March, 1992)] ndash "Text of the Supreme Court judgement overturning the injunction"ndash from the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII): Supreme Court of Ireland Decisions

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