statelessness

The problem with Clare Daly’s proposal on bodily integrity

 

I saw this on Twitter this morning:

 

Clare Daly TD proposal tweet 400x313

 

The proposal by Clare Daly TD is to insert the following into Article 40 of the Constitution, replacing the existing Article 40.3.3°:

The state acknowledges right of all citizens to personal autonomy and bodily integrity.

Presumably the intention here is to remove the restrictions around abortion in Ireland, which many have argued have led to abortion effectively being exported abroad, most especially to England.

This is the existing text of Article 40.3.3°, which was insterted following a referendum in 1983:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.

One of the problems with Daly’s proposal is that it is exclusive, affecting only “citizens.”

This wording creates a category of individuals in the state whose right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity is recognised – citizens of Ireland – and a category of individuals whose right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity is not recognised – those who are not citizens of Ireland.

One obvious consequence of this approach is that a situation such as the case of Miss Y from earlier this year remains unaddressed.

Thus, a fundamental right that is made contingent on citizenship status is no right at all.