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Supreme Court of Ireland Supreme Court of Ireland 

Bishop's reaction to Irish Supreme Court ruling on unborn

The Irish Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the unborn has no constitutional rights outside the Eighth Amendment.

By Lydia O'Kane

The Amendment in Ireland’s constitution commits authorities to defend equally the right to life of a mother and an unborn child.

Abortion in the country is legal only in rare cases when a woman's life is in danger.

The Irish State had appealed a High Court ruling that found the unborn has Constitutional rights beyond the right to life.

The issue of the rights of the unborn was brought to the fore in a case involving a Nigerian man who was facing deportation. He wanted the judgment repealed by the country’s Justice Minister.

His Irish partner was due to give birth to a baby weeks after the case began.

In the High Court judgment it was found that the unborn child had rights under the Constitution beyond the right to life.

This finding was appealed by the State, which argued the only right the unborn has is the right to be born.

“Manifest injustice” to the unborn


The Catholic Bishops of Ireland on Tuesday evening released a statement saying the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, “would leave unborn children at the mercy of whatever permissive abortion laws might be introduced in Ireland in the future”.

They also said it would be “a shocking step” and “a manifest injustice” to the unborn.

Giving his reaction to the Supreme Court ruling the Bishop of Kilmore, in Ireland, Leo O’Reilly described, the judgment was “disappointing". Last weekend Bishop O’Reilly issued a pastoral letter to the faithful of his diocese entitled, “Every human life is sacred.”

Listen to the interview with Bishop Leo O'Reilly
07 March 2018, 13:53