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(25-02-2012) From X to A B C: 20 Years On

Hosted by the Board of Women’s Studies UCC in association with Cork Feminista


Venue: Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, College Road, Cork

Room G05


11.00 AM- 1.30PM


Invited speakers : Dr Lisa Smyth (Lecturer in Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast); Dr Brenda Daly (Lecturer in Law, Dublin City University); Dr Mary Favier (Media spokesperson for Doctors for Choice); Niall Behan ( CEO Irish family Planning Association).

This film will be shown  by Niall Behan on the day: video

Papers and Biographies


 Dr Lisa Smyth (Lecturer in Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast):

Title: Citizenship as Recognition: abortion politics since the X Case.

 How are struggles over women’s citizenship changing in the decades since the X case? This paper explores the consequences of that case, understood as an important moment of crisis in Ireland’s normative order. Attention is focused on the shifting status of gender equality, as long-term interactions continue to play out between those women who have been forced to travel in order to access legal abortions, the Irish state, international human rights law and politics, and domestic and international lobby groups. The dynamic public recognition of a range of norms, needs and interests across a variety of contexts, from the street to the European Court of Human Rights, have the potential to reconfigure the character of women’s citizenship, in ways which could not only provide stronger entitlements for those in need, but also in turn allow the role of citizen to be more fully inhabited and creatively remade by women themselves.


Dr Lisa Smyth Biographical information

 Lisa is a Lecturer in Sociology at Queen’s University Belfast, and has also been a visiting professor at San Diego State University’s Department of Women’s Studies. Her research interests lie in the fields of social roles, norms, recognition and action theory. Her forthcoming book, The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (Palgrave Macmillan), is due to be published in May 2012. Her previous work includes Abortion and Nation: the Politics of Reproduction in Contemporary Ireland.


Dr Brenda Daly (Lecturer in Law, Dublin City University):

Title:  ‘Braxton Hicks’ or birth of a new era? The impact of ABC on Irish abortion law.

 This paper examines the impact of recent European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence regarding the Constitutional right of access to abortion in Ireland. The paper will consider whether the ECtHR’s decision in A, B, C v Ireland could result in a liberalisation of Ireland’s abortion laws. 

Dr Brenda Daly

 Brenda’s doctoral research examined the issue of legal accountability of the medical profession from the patient perspective. Her primary research interests focus on healthcare law, patients’ rights and the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms used to determine accountability. Brenda has a particular interest in women’s rights to healthcare. Brenda is a member of the Patients’ Rights Research Team (a collaborative research team involving the School of Nursing and School of Law & Government at DCU) which undertook “A Review of the European Charter of Patients’ Rights: Health Care Rights and Responsibilities in Ireland” in April 2005.


 Dr Mary Favier (Media spokesperson for Doctors for Choice):

 Title: Twenty years since the X case.  Have health professionals made any difference?

 This paper will reflect on the health and medical related aspects of abortion care and progress since the X case.  Health professionals have an important but underdeveloped role in the abortion debate in Ireland.  Addressing the culture of silence within the nursing and medical professions remains an important priority. Recent research suggests that the doctors particularly GPs are less anti-choice than previously thought. Training in abortion care is changing and developments such as Medical Students for Choice are beginning to have an impact.

Dr Mary Favier

 Mary is a founder member of Doctors for Choice and organisation the advocates for free legal safe abortion in Ireland. She is a GP in Cork city. She has been a postgraduate education tutor and most recently has been chair of the Education committee of the Irish College of GPs.  She undertakes expert witness work in the medical indemnity area and is on the editorial board of the GP magazine Forum.


 Niall Behan ( CEO Irish family Planning Association):

 Title: ‘Have you not sorted that out yet?’  Turning support for abortion rights into legislative action.

 This paper explores why legislation for abortion in even the most limited circumstances has not been introduced in Ireland and suggests what pro-choice advocates need to do next.

 Niall Behan

 Niall Behan is chief executive of the IFPA and has over twelve years’ experience leading NGOs in Ireland. As head of Ireland’s leading sexual and reproductive health provider, Mr. Behan is responsible for the overall implementation of the organisation’s strategic goals and objectives including medical service delivery, education, counselling, training and policy development. Prior to his work in the NGO sector, Mr. Behan worked as personal assistant to the Minister for Social Welfare.

Women's Studies

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