Supreme Court delivers ruling on right to life

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The court also insisted its decision does not render the unborn either "constitutionally or legally invisible" because the terms of Article 40.3.3, the court's findings on obligations to consider prospective rights of the unborn and various common law and statutory provisions "all recognise and protect the interests of an unborn child".

The Supreme Court judges dismissed the State appeal of the High Court ruling, but not because it agreed with the lower court's position on the unborn.

The unborn does not have inherent rights beyond the right to life that is contained in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled. The Minister intends to bring a memo to Cabinet with the final wording of the Referendum Bill shortly.

The Supreme Court rejected the High court ruling saying that any additional constitutional protections are conferred upon the child at the time of birth and not sooner.

The case before the Supreme Court of Ireland involved a Nigerian man who attempted to avoid deportation in 2008 by arguing that he was the father of an unborn child in Ireland.

He said the bill would be introduced into the Dail as soon as possible with the intention of formally establishing a referendum commission in the coming days.

"It is, therefore, a great irony that we in Ireland are for the first time in our history losing our clarity about the right to life of the unborn", the bishops' statement said.

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Responding to Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald during Leaders' Questions Mr Varadkar said he was keen to make sure there were no delays in holding a referendum but added he wanted to make sure no mistakes were made when tackling such a sensitive issue.

"We can now turn our focus to ensuring that we are prepared for a May referendum, I look forward to the parliamentary debates and the national discussion on this issue". And that we have a full day sitting on Friday to advance the legislation?

The Pro-Life Campaign said the ruling highlighted the importance of keeping "this life-saving provision" in the Constitution.

Pro Life Campaign legal adviser, Professor William Binchy said ...

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said if the referendum backs a change to the constitution, the Government will table legislation that would allow for unrestricted abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The ruling reverses a previous finding by the High Court that the unborn has rights beyond the Eighth Amendment and that the reference to "all children" in the Constitution included the unborn. It exposes the true agenda of the Government proposals: to remove all constitutional protections for unborn children, while masking it s a proposal to protect the rights of women.

She said repealing the Eighth Amendment would "give carte blanche to future governments to extend abortion on demand later in pregnancy without any approval from the public".