Court clears way for Irish referendum on abortion

Irish law currently enshrines the right to life for the unborn (Bigstock)

Ireland’s Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that protections for the unborn child offered under the state’s constitution do not extend beyond the right to life. Source: The Australian.

The ruling yesterday by the seven Supreme Court judges is set to clear the way for a planned referendum on Ireland’s abortion laws later this year.

The contentious Eighth Amendment of Ireland’s legal framework enshrines the right to life of the unborn – a provision that renders abortion illegal other than in exceptional circumstances.

Supreme Court judges have been considering whether unborn children are entitled to further rights under other sections of the constitution.

The ruling could impact the wording and timing of an anticipated Irish referendum on the fate of the Eighth Amendment. The judges ruled that the rights were confined to the provisions of the Eighth Amendment.

Ireland’s Chief Justice Frank Clarke told the Supreme Court in Limerick: “The present constitutional rights for the unborn are confined to the right to life guaranteed in article 40.3.3 (the Eighth Amendment).”

If the Supreme Court had found the rights extended beyond the amendment, the referendum might have needed to be broadened to take in other elements of the constitution. That could have delayed the timetable for holding the vote.

The case reached the Supreme Court after the state appealed a High Court judgment that ruled the unborn child did have enshrined rights beyond the right to life.

The High Court case was related to an immigration dispute involving a Nigerian man who argued that he should not be deported because the unborn child being carried by his Irish partner had multiple rights, including the right to the company of its father.


Irish rule unborn have right to life only (The Australian)


Supreme Court rules only constitutional right of unborn is right to life (Irish Times)

Big turnout at pro-life rally ‘hugely important’ (Irish Catholic

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