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Ireland Supreme Court rules on rights of unborn children

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Ireland [website] ruled [judgment] Wednesday that unborn children are not offered additional protections apart from the right to life in the Eighth Amendment [text] to the Constitution of Ireland.

The judgment came from an immigration case where a Nigerian national attempted to repeal an order of deportation on the basis that his Irish partner was pregnant with his child. The High Court had previously ruled that the unborn child enjoyed rights beyond the right to life, calling for the Justice Minister to consider the potential birth of an Irish citizen as a factor in revoking the deportation order.

The Supreme Court rejected the High court ruling saying that any additional constitutional protections are conferred upon the child at the time of birth and not sooner. After birth, the Justice Minister must then assess the effect the deportation might have on the constitutional rights of the child. This decision reversed the determination that the unborn child enjoyed rights under Article 42A [text] of the constitution on the rights of children.

The ruling, lessening the constitutional protection of the unborn child, has political implications with the upcoming referendum on abortion to be held [JURIST reports] in May.

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