Reforming Abortion Law: Comparative Perspectives 2013

Conference: Reforming Abortion Law: Comparative Perspectives

Reforming Abortion Law: Comparative Perspectives (2013)

Reforming Abortion Law: Comparative Perspectives

March 22nd 2013 (1:30 – 5:30 p.m.)

(Registration from 1-1:30 p.m.)

, Faculty of Law, University College Cork


This event will mark the launch of the Gender, Law and Sexuality (GLAS) research initiative in the Faculty of Law, University College Cork. 
This initiative supports collaborative and interdisciplinary research in UCC Law including in fields of human rights law, health and medical law, employment law, migration and refugee law, criminal justice and family law.


(Chair of Expert Group on the judgement in A, B and C v Ireland)



Professor Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law, Columbis University NY

Professor Blanca Rodriguez Ruiz, Dept of Law, University of Sevilla, Spain

Dr Ruth Fletcher, Dept of Law, Keele University, UK

Johanna Westeson, Centre for Reproductive Rights

Professor Siobhán Mullally, Dept of Law, University College Cork

Dr Claire Murray, Dept of Law, University College Cork

Natalie McDonnell, Barrister at Law (invited)


Venue: Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, College Road, Room G_06, University College Cork


Booking Details:

  • Registration Fee: €40
  • Trainee Solicitors and Barristers: €15
  • Students: €10

Online booking and fee payment available at:

Registration Fee can also be paid at the event or preferably in advance by cheque payable to University College Cork Law Department (send to: Noreen Delea, Dept of Law, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland).


Advance Booking is Essential

For queries, contact: Noreen Delea at:

Conference convenors: Professor Siobhán Mullally and Dr Claire Murray, Law Faculty, University College Cork




Parking at the main UCC campus and at the Brookfield complex is extremely limited.

The venue is fully accessible.  Please notify us of any specific accessibility requirements.


The event is supported by an Irish research Council New Foundations Award and the Dean of Law Strategic Fund.

Chair: Hon. Justice Seán Ryan

Justice Seán Ryan is a judge of the High Court. As a barrister, he was Senior Counsel to the inquiry into abuse in the Catholic diocese of Ferns (the Ferns Report), and was chairman of the Compensation Advisory Committee that prepared guidelines on compensation to be paid to abuse survivors at the Residential Institutions Redress Board. In September 2003, Justice Seán Ryan was appointed to head the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. The Commission’s Report was published in 2009 (the Ryan Report). In 2012, Justice Seán Ryan was appointed the chair the Expert Group on the A, B and C v Ireland judgment. The terms of reference of the Group were as follows:

?To examine the A, B and C v Ireland judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

?To elucidate its implications for the provision o fhealth care services to pregnant women in Ireland.

?To recommend a series of options on how to implement the judgment taking into account the constitutional, legal, medical, and ethical considerations involved in the formulation of public policy in this area and the over-riding need for speedy action.

The Report of the Expert Group was published in November 2012.

Professor Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law, School of Law, Columbia University NY

B.A.,Wellesley, 1970; J.D., University of Michigan, 1976. Commercial law practice, San Francisco, 1976-1979; Taught at the University of Oregon, 1979-81, and at Santa Clara University Law School, 1985-94. Visiting scholar, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University, 1990-91; Visiting Professor,Stanford Law School, 1991-92, Columbia Law School, 1994-96. Joined Columbia faculty in 1996. Member of executive board of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Awarded Columbia University Presidential Teaching Prize, 2001. Fellow, Program on Law and Public Affairs, Princeton, 2003-04. Awarded Willis Reese Teaching Prize by graduating class of 2007. Plumer Fellow, St. Anne's College, Oxford, Fall, 2008. Teaching areas include Contracts, Family Law, and courses focusing on reproduction, the legal profession, and law and gender. Recent scholarship focuses on the regulation of maternal conduct, the regulation of abortion, surrogacy, and always, law's relation to culture. Editor, Cases and Materials on Contracts (7th ed., 2008) (with the late E.A. Farnsworth, and Professors Young, Cohen, and Brooks).

Professor Rodriguez Ruiz

Blanca Rodriguez Ruiz is a Lecturer of Constitutional Law at the University of Seville, Spain, since 2000. She obtained her law degree at the University of Seville and received her Ph.D. in law at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. She was avon-Humboldt post-doctoral research scholar at the law school of the University of Frankfurt, Germany, and a visiting scholar at Gender Institute of the London School of Economics. Her academic work, published in Spanish, German and English books and academic journals, analyses questions related to fundamental rights, democratic theory and gender, from a discourse-theoretical perspective. Her current work covers questions regarding women’s political representation and citizenship.

Dr Ruth Fletcher

Ruth Fletcher joined Keele in 1999 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005. At Keele she has participated in a number of research projects, including as Associate Director of the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality (2004-9). Ruth’s teaching and supervision are mainly in the areas of healthcare law and ethics, socio-legal studies, and gender, sexuality and law. She has been a visiting fellow at the Centre for Feminist Legal Studies, Delhi; Cornell Law School; Queen’s University Belfast, and University College Cork, is also incoming Director of the Research Centre for Law, Ethics and Society, and has recently been the Postgraduate Research Director for the Social Sciences.

Johanna Westeson

Johanna Westeson is the Regional Director for Europe at the Centre for Reproductive Rights. She joined the International Legal Program in 2011. She coordinates the work of the Europeteam, focusing on the promotion of reproductive rights in Eastern and Central Europe by working through regional and international human rights mechanisms. Prior to joining the Center, Johanna worked at the Swedish Foundation for Human Rights, where she was the Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean and also responsible for Human Rights Education. While there, Johanna ran the Foundation's support for regional Latin American human rights NGOs, supported human rights bodies working within the Inter-American System for Human Rights, and designed and implemented a pilot program for women's and LGBT rights in the Caribbean. Previously Johanna worked as a consultant to the World Health Organization's Sexual Health and Rights Project as the main researcher on Europe, producing a report that addressed a number of issues, with a core focus on reproductive rights. The report also analyzed laws and jurisprudence of European states, the E.U., and the European Court of Human Rights. She has also worked with the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation, Sida, in La Paz, Bolivia, where she ran its human rights and civil society program, and has clerked at Uppsala District Court, Sweden. She received her J.D. from Uppsala University and her L.L.M. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Fulbright Scholar.

Professor Siobhán Mullally

Siobhán Mullally is Professor of Law at University College Cork. She has published widely in the field of international human rights law, including on gender, religion and the state.

Dr Claire Murray

Claire Murray is a first class honours graduate of University College Cork (BCL, 2004; PhD, 2010; PGCTLHE,2011; PGDTLHE, 2012) and King's Inns (BL, 2008). She was awarded an IRCHSS Government of Ireland Scholarship to fund her PhD research and completed her thesis, "Feminism, Rights and Mental Health Law: Analysing the Contribution of Feminist Theories of Rights to Irish Mental Health Law", in 2009. She joined the Law Faculty in 2010 having previously practiced as a barrister and worked as the principal legal researcher on the Law Reform Commission's project on Legal Aspects of Family Relationships. Her research interests lie broadly in the areas of mental health law, feminist theory, family law and medical law. Claire has been a Visiting Scholar at the Feminism and Legal Theory Project and the Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative at Emory University, School of Law, USA. She is currently the Director of the BCL (International) and LLM (Practitioner) programmes, and a Coordinator of the Gender, Law and Sexuality (GLAS) Research Initiative.

Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights

Faculty of Law, University College Cork, Ireland