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Irish High Court ruling on unborn children hailed by pro-lifers as "very significant" for abortion debate

2 August 2016

DUBLIN, 2 August 2016: A ruling by the Irish High Court on the rights of unborn children has been hailed as "very significant" for Ireland's abortion debate by one of Europe's leading pro-life groups.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) was responding to Mr Justice Humphries's ruling that unborn children have both the right to life and a number of wider rights under the Irish Constitution (Irish Times, 2 Aug. 2016

Patrick Buckley, SPUC's Ireland officer, commented: "The ruling is vitally important at a time when the status of unborn babies in Ireland is once again under grave threat from pro-abortion organisations and the media.

"The judge ruled that an unborn child's constitutional rights go well beyond the right to life (article 40.3.3) but must also take account of Article 42a - the rights of children, common law rights, rights under statute law and rights under international law. This ruling could have implications for other common-law jurisdictions as well as the Council of Europe.

"The ruling is particularly significant because it says that those rights are effective before - and not just after - birth. Mr Justice Humphries declared that the State must protect 'all' children, and because an 'unborn' is 'clearly a child', article 42a means all children 'both before and after birth'."

Mr Buckley concluded: "In the light of the High Court's ruling, we call upon the Government to move to repeal the pro-abortion Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and to oppose any moves to repeal the Eighth Amendment. The killing of unborn children is both unconstitutional and unethical and therefore must not be allowed in Ireland."

For further comments or to request an interview, please contact Patrick Buckley on mobile + 353 872578250 or SPUC's Communications Department on:

  • Mobile: + 44 (0)7939 177683
  • Landline: +44 (0)20 7820 3129
  • Email:
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