Had the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar not been brought to light by The Irish Times it is unlikely that we would have had such a swift government response to the report of the expert group on abortion.
More than 20 years on, there is to be legislation to address the ambiguities inherited from the X case judgment of 1992.
It is perhaps worth recalling the background to that case and indeed the role of The Irish Times in bringing it to public knowledge against the wishes of the government and legal authorities of the day.
In the early 1980s Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil vied with each other to assert their abhorrence of abortion. There was, of course, no public demand for its introduction. This was posturing to gain electoral advantage. The result was the passing of the September 1983 referendum, purporting to accord equal rights for the mother and the unborn child. It is doubtful if anybody expected it to have any implications in practice.
England provided the answer to the abortion question in Ireland.
But some constitutional experts had warned that the ambiguities of the 1983 amendment would prove to be a legal time bomb. In early 1992 they were proven right. An outraged suburban family reported to gardaí that their 14-year-old daughter had been violated by a neighbour and was pregnant. They intended to bring her to the UK for an abortion and wanted to know if DNA taken from the foetus could be used here as evidence.
Read full piece by Conor Brady here