An Irish High Court judge recently made a ruling that could have far-reaching implications in that country’s struggle against abortion. While reviewing a deportation order, Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys ruled that the term “unborn” used in the Irish Constitution represents an “unborn child” that has additional rights besides the right to life. These rights apply to all children, including the unborn child of a parent or parents facing deportation.
Many of these rights, Mr. Justice Humphreys argued, are “actually effective” instead of just prospective. Under Article 42a of the Constitution, the Irish state is obligated to protect all children. Article 42a was added in 2012 as part of the Children’s Referendum. Humphreys argued that an “unborn” is “clearly a child” therefore Article 42a applied to every child “both before and after birth”.
Niamh Ui Bhriain, a spokeswoman of the Life Institute, declared this to be a significant ruling since it confirms that the unborn deserve the rights and protections entitled to every other citizen. The Life Institute is a pro-life organization attempting to build a culture of life in Ireland. Justice Humphrey’s ruling is also a move against those who argue that a preborn child is neither human nor deserving of rights.
“This is an important ruling which provides useful clarity at a time when the media and abortion campaigners are arguing that preborn children should be denied even the most fundamental right – the right to life,” she said. “This ruling reminds us that we are a human being from conception and that our human rights must be protected and upheld from that point.”
Though Article 42a of the Irish Constitution was never intended to grant immigration rights, Humphreys said, it does not negate the rights of unborn children with a parent or parents facing deportation.