Ireland High Court rules frozen embryos not 'unborn' with right to life

[JURIST] The High Court of Ireland [official website] held Wednesday that the protection of an unborn's right to life under Article 40 of the Irish Constitution [PDF text] does not include the preservation of embryos frozen as a part of infertility treatment. Article 40, Section 3.3 says:

The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.
According to Justice Brian McGovern, "frozen embryos are not 'unborn'" and therefore the petitioner had no right to have the embryos implanted in the face of objections from her estranged husband.

In October, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] announced that on November 22 it will hear the appeal [JURIST report] of a British woman trying to use frozen embryos despite objections from her former partner who fertilized the eggs. The ECHR ruled in March [JURIST report] that the woman could not use the embryos resulting from a 2001 IVF program, upholding the judgment of the UK Court of Appeal [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.


 

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