I'd not really had time to look at this while it was fresh, but I did rather suspect that the celebrating was misguided:
Irish law prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save a woman’s life, and as a practical matter it imposes daunting obstacles to terminating life-threatening pregnancies as well. In a secularized Europe, Ireland is noticeably out of step. Of the 47 countries covered by the European Convention on Human Rights, only in the fairytale countries of Andorra, Malta and San Marino, where all abortions are illegal, is the law any stricter.
So a decision earlier this month from the European Court of Human Rights in the Case of A, B, and C v. Ireland, promised to be of more than routine interest. A challenge to the Irish law brought by three women asserting rights under the European Convention, it held the potential to express a Continent-wide consensus that abortion rights are human rights.
Indeed, the initial news reports in this country, at least in headlines, indicated that this is what had happened. The European court awarded 15,000 euros, about $20,000, to Plaintiff C, a cancer patient who feared that her life was at risk from an unintended pregnancy and who, like Plaintiffs A and B and thousands of other Irish women every year, had to leave the country to obtain an abortion.
Good, but, er...
But a closer reading of the 40,000-word decision tells a different story. The Strasbourg, France, court — which 30 years ago interpreted the Convention to protect gay rights — actually made clear that it was not recognizing a right to abortion. On behalf of Plaintiff C, who could not find an Irish doctor willing to help her even assess her risks, it was simply telling Ireland that if the country chose to offer a life-saving exception to its abortion ban, it had to give women “an accessible and effective procedure” to demonstrate that they qualified....
No right under the Convention was violated in these two instances, the court said by a vote of 11 to 6. Granted, “the process of traveling abroad for an abortion was psychologically and physically arduous” for these women. And granted also that in their particular circumstances, they could have obtained legal abortions in 35 to 40 other countries covered by the Convention. But because Ireland’s law is based “on the profound moral views of the Irish people as to the nature of life,” the court said, Ireland was entitled to an extra “margin of appreciation.” This phrase expresses a measure of deference toward a country’s right within the framework of international law to chart its own domestic course. With its extra margin, Irish law prevailed.
"Ireland" in this legal sense has the last say over "this Irish woman's body," though "Ireland" would not have such power were the women in question so silly as to not have been rich enough to have surgery abroad.
As a student of modern Ireland, I should like to see evidence that "Ireland" is fit and competent to make moral decisions of any sort whatsoever in any regard before it assumes control over anyone's uterus.