A High Court judge has said the word “unborn” in the Constitution means an “unborn child” with rights beyond the right to life, which “must be taken seriously” by the State.
The unborn child, including the unborn child of a parent facing deportation, enjoys “significant” rights and legal position at common law, by statute, and under the Constitution, “going well beyond the right to life alone”, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys said.
Many of those rights were “actually effective” rather than merely prospective. He said article 42a of the Constitution, inserted as a result of the 2012 Children’s Referendum, provides the State must protect “all” children.
Because an “unborn” is “clearly a child”, article 42a means all children “both before and after birth”.
He said while neither article 42a nor article 40.3.3 (requiring the State to vindicate the right to life of the unborn) were intended to confer immigration rights, that did not displace any legal consequences flowing from the prospective position of an unborn child with a parent facing deportation. Fintan O’Toole: Pro-life campaign needs to get its facts straight ‘My baby’s remains in a cardboard box’: Irish GP’s abortion story Justice Mary Laffoy to chair citizens’ assembly on abortion.
He made the findings during a judicial review.
The Minister must consider the constitutional, statutory, EU and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) rights of the man, his partner and the child, including their family rights under article 8 of the ECHR, he ruled. Edited from the IrishTimes (Aug. 2, 2016)