She Is Not A Criminal

Ireland’s abortion law violates the human rights of women and girls every day.

Whoever you are, wherever you live, all the decisions you make about your own body should be yours. Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights. They guarantee that everyone should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies, get accurate information about their health care options and access sexual and reproductive health services.

Ireland’s abortion laws are among the most restrictive in the world. It is a criminal offence to have an abortion except when there is “a real and substantial risk” to the woman’s life. If a woman or girl needs an abortion, she must travel abroad to access this essential health care service. If she has an illegal abortion in Ireland, she risks 14 years in prison.

No woman should be denied the healthcare that is her right. Criminalising women for having abortions violates their human rights and endangers their lives.

It is wrong for the Government to use the criminal law to control women’s reproduction.

Everyone should be empowered to make their own decisions about their bodies. Governments should make sure that sexual and reproductive health services, education and information are available and easy to access, including access to abortion in line with international human rights standards under the minimum standards required by international human rights law.

Women and girls have a human right to access abortion services, at a minimum, when the pregnancy poses a risk to their physical or mental health, when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or where there is a diagnosis of severe or fatal foetal impairment. Governments must provide access to abortion in these circumstances not just in theory but in practice.


Our campaign is calling for:

  • Total repeal of the 8th Amendment and removal of the issue entirely from the Constitution
  • Full decriminalisation of abortion
  • The introduction of a legal and medical framework which respects the human rights of women and girls

Women’s Voices from the ‘She is Not a Criminal’ Report

This selection of women’s stories was originally collected for the report She is Not a Criminal: the impact of Ireland’s abortion law, in order to document the myriad human rights violations stemming from Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws.