Authors Name: 
Dawn Smyth
Waterford Institute of Technology
Nursing & Midwifery
Award winner

Abortion: Exploring the Ethical, Legal and Political Challenges

Ethical, legal and political challenges are embedded in nursing practice and inform clinical decisions. Abortion is an example of a contemporaneous issue layered with complexity where balancing the wellbeing of both the mother and the unborn has prompted considerable international discourse. This paper explores the issue of abortion and its ethical, legal and political significance regarding public health. The search strategy employed explored evidence from international databases, political input from various media as well as Case analyses. The implications and subsequent recommendations are discussed. Abortion remains a controversial and divisive human issue. Ambiguity surrounds the concept of personhood and the inception of human life. The imposition of the eight Constitutional amendment and the lack direction on the precise application of the X judgement requires clarity. The right to life of the woman and the unborn continues to lie in tension. The abortion issue encapsulates ethical, political and legal factors in clinical decision making. Although the law may set out a legislative framework, it is impossible to legislate for every eventuality. Test cases will illustrate the application of new legislation. Ultimately the abortion debate requires a balance between legislation and clinical governance.