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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Irish embryo decision misinterprets constitution

15 November 2006

Irish embryo decision misinterprets constitution SPUC's sister organisation in Ireland has criticised an Irish high court ruling which denies rights to embryos before implantation in the womb. Patrick Buckley, director of European Life Network, said: "This ruling will anger the vast majority of Irish people who believe human life should be protected from the first moment of conception. The ruling is a misinterpretation the Constitution. "This decision appears to have completely failed to consider the meaning of the Irish text of article 40.3.3, which must take precedence over the English translation. In Irish the text refers to 'na mbeo gan breith' - literally 'the living without birth.' This recognises the right to life of all embryos and makes no distinction between an embryo before or after implantation. Mr Justice McGovern's judgement creates a distinction which does not exist in the Constitution. "The judge is also wrong to assume that, when the people of Ireland recognised the right to life of the child in the womb, they did not want equal protection for embryos. In fact, in 2001 when the Government attempted to amend the Constitution so that legal protection only applied after implantation, it was rejected by the people. "This is a faulty and inadequate judgement and, if it is not challenged, the Courts will have effectively overturned the democratically expressed wishes of the people." Mr Justice McGovern gave his ruling in the so-called frozen embryos case.

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