Youth Defence has called on the government to respect the wishes of the people and to move to protect human life from the moment of conception. The pro-life organisation made its call as the Supreme Court today dismissed an appeal by a mother of two against the High Court's refusal to order a Dublin clinic to release three frozen embryos to her against the wishes of her estranged husband.
The five-judge court found that consent was required to proceed with the implantation. They also decided to uphold the High Court’s findings that the embryos are not the "unborn" within the meaning of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution and therefore not entitled to Constitutional protection, saying that the "unborn" referred to a child within the womb and not pre-implanted embryos.
Youth Defence said that in doing so the Supreme Court has upheld an erroneous decision by Justice McGovern in the High Court, in which the judge had ruled that it was not the intention of the electorate in 1983 to extend protection to the human embryo outside the womb. “With all due respect, Justice McGovern had no crystal ball which allowed him to see into the minds of more than a million people and to decipher the intentions of each and every one,” said Íde Nic Mhathúna of Youth Defence. “Test-tube babies had been born prior to the 1983 amendment and there was no mention of restricting the right to life at any stages from conception. It is disappointing to see the Supreme Court now uphold that erroneous ruling.”
Ms Nic Mhathúna said it was now crucial that the Government move to protect human life from conception. “Two separate bodies, the Commission on Assisted Human Reproduction and the Irish Council for Bio-ethics, asked for submissions from the public on the treatment of early human life,” she said. “And on both occasions the vast majority of public submissions supported protecting human life from conception, and said that any form of lethal experiments on embryonic life should be absolutely banned. But then both bodies ignored the public’s view and instead recommended legislation that would have made us one of the most liberal countries in the world in regulating this area – even allowing for the creation of human embryos for experimentation, and for cloning.”
What’s clear now is that the government needs to act to restore the protection to the human embryo which the pro-life majority presumes existed since 1983. Any attempt to use the RvR judgment to introduce embryo research would be “unacceptable, and would ultimately fail since it would be very strongly opposed.
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