Home > Constitution of Ireland, New Judgments and Cases to Watch > Embryos and the Right to Life: The Supreme Court Decision

Embryos and the Right to Life: The Supreme Court Decision

RTE News reports that the Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in a case in which case the appellant was seeking to have three embryos created with her ex-partner released to her for implantation. Her ex-partner, on the other hand, claimed that there was no agreement permitting her to have these embryos for use following the dissolution of the relationship. From a human rights perspective it is particularly important to note that a sizeable amount of the argumentation revolved around whether an embryo is entitled to constitutional protection under Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution (right to life). The Supreme Court held that the constitutional protection only applied from the point of implantation of an embryo and not from the point of creation.

The judgment is not currently available online although we anticipate that it will be posted relatively shortly. It is somewhat difficult to draw conclusions from a news report of a court decision, and it would be wise to wait to read the exact terms of the Court’s decision on implantation and constitutional protection before commenting on its constitutional significance, however if the RTE report is an accurate representation of the Court’s decision in this respect then this would seem to put any questions that may have existed about measures such as the morning after pill beyond constitutional doubt.

We on HRinI will, of course, be covering the human rights law elements of this decision further as the judgment is released, digested and discussed.

UPDATE The judgments in this case can now be accessed from the Courts Service website by clicking here.

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  1. aoifenolan
    December 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    It will be particularly interesting to see what use the Supreme Court made of the ECHR jurisprudence in this area.

  1. December 15, 2009 at 10:04 pm

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