Self-determination for women
The Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution elevated the right to life of the foetus to the status of a constitutional right. The implications of this development for Irish women are used in this thesis as a starting point to illustrate the need for a right to self-determination for women as a social group. As a country with a democratic government, and a codified bill of rights, Ireland is squarely within the liberal legal tradition of rights. This background, together with the absolute
... th the absolute prohibition on abortion, and the powerful position of the Catholic Church as a reservoir of conservative beliefs, makes Ireland a particularly strong example to illustrate the need for a right to self-determination for women. A constitutional right to self-determination for women as a social group would aim to return to women the power to define and create the institutions and structures of society under which they live, at both the public level of government and the private level of family and the day to day lives of women. This thesis attempts both to delineate the theoretical outlines of this right, and suggest how such a right can be used to engage with law to advance the position of women.