Northern Ireland: Advocating Abortion Rights – Local and Global Tensions

Congratulations to Dr. Catherine O’Rourke of the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.  Her useful journal article was recently published in a special issue of Social & Legal Studies,  guest-edited by Siobhan Mullally, on “Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:

Catherine O’Rourke “Advocating Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland: Local and Global Tensions,” Social and Legal Studies 25 (6). pp. 716-740.
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Abstract:       It is frequently claimed that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is more significant for the cultural, rather than legal, work that it does in reframing locally contested gender issues as the subject of international human rights. While this argument is well developed in respect of violence against women, CEDAW’s cultural traction is less clear in respect of women’s right to access safe and legal abortion. This article examines the request made jointly by Alliance for Choice, the Family Planning Association Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform to the CEDAW Committee to request an inquiry under the CEDAW Optional Protocol into access to abortion in the jurisdiction. The study found that the CEDAW framework was useful in underpinning alliances between diverse pro-choice organizations but less effective in securing the support of ‘mainstream’ human rights organizations in the jurisdiction. The article argues that the local cultural possibilities of CEDAW must be understood as embedded within both the broader structural gendered limitations of international human rights law and persistent regressive gendered sub-themes within mainstream human rights advocacy.
For full text of this article, see:
“Regulating Abortion: Dissensus and the Politics of Rights”:  special issue of Social & Legal Studies, ed. Siobhan Mullally and Clare Murray:  Table of Contents
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