Abortion and Divorce Law in Ireland

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About the Book

In 1991, the people of Ireland elected Mary Robinson, a women’s rights crusader who supported legalized birth control and divorce, as their president. The country seemed poised for massive social and legal change, but it became apparent that even though Ireland at the dawn of the 21st century would be very different from the Ireland of the past, many fundamentals would remain the same.
This book examines Irish abortion and divorce law in their historical, religious, and cultural contexts. Its main focus is on the well-publicized referenda and court cases of the 1980s and 1990s, with special attention given to their roots and potential long-term effects on the communitarian Irish culture and opportunities for Irish women. The author identifies and discusses three forces that have affected Irish law and mores, especially those relating to abortion and divorce: economic insecurity; a sense of group loyalty and identification, particularly within families and churches; and Catholic teaching about the common good.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer E. Spreng, an assistant professor of law, teaches constitutional law at Phoenix School of Law in Phoenix, Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Jennifer E. Spreng
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 269
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1675-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8435-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

PART I

1. After the “Coffee and Condoms Revolution”: Communitarianism in 21st Century Irish Law      9

2. “The Land of Happy Wars and Sad Love Songs”      23

3. The de Valera Vision: The Irish Constitution      40

4. What Kind of Country? Social Change from 1950 to 1980      58

PART II

5. The 1980s and the Rise of Modern Abortion and Divorce Law      83

6. The Equal Right to Life of the Mother      112

7. The Lone Irish Rights Bearer of the 1990s      134

PART III

8. On Tara Road: Women and Flourishing      155

9. Keeping Their Rough Edges: Constitutional Consent in Ireland      182

10. Conclusion      204

Chapter Notes      213

Bibliography      233

Index      249