The recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B, and C v. Ireland concluded that Ireland’s strict laws limiting abortion fell within the “margin of appreciation” allowed under the European Convention on Human Rights.  One of the plaintiffs prevailed in her claim, which focused on the exception within the statute for an abortion in cases in which there is a “real and substantial risk” to the mother’s life.”  Initial reports in the U.S. media focused on this aspect of the ruling, which will require the Irish government to enact legislation defining when and how women in this situation can get abortions. See Sarah Lyall, European Court Rules Against Irish Abortion Law (N.Y. Times 12/16/2010).  But, as Linda Greenberg has pointed out in a Times column, the overall effect of the ruling was to uphold Ireland’s law despite the emerging European consensus in favor of more liberal abortion laws.