The landmark ruling has ramifications for the abortion debate in Ireland
An Irish High Court judge has ruled that the rights of the unborn extend “well beyond the right to life alone", and that those rights are “significant".
The ruling, by Justice Richard Humphries comes as part of a protracted deportation case.
In the case under review, the state had, in 2008, secured a deportation order for a Nigerian man, who was attempting to claim refugee status. The man’s deportation was delayed with a series of appeals, and then became subject to a judicial review.
The man had, at the time of his application for residence, fathered a child, as yet unborn, with an Irish woman with whom he is still partnered. The rights of the child at this time have an impact on the strength of his case to stay in the country.
Patrick Buckley, from the Dublin office of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said: “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."
A coalition of campaign groups have pressed for a repeal to the Eighth Amendment to Ireland’s constitution, which affirms the right to life of the unborn child.
In 2013, Ireland legalised abortion to protect the life of the mother, including where there was a risk of suicide.
Buckley said: “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."