Tuesday 15 December 2009

Irish ruling on embryo status contrary to human rights

The Irish Supreme Court today rejected a request by a woman, Mary Roche, to be implanted with frozen embryos created during IVF. Thomas Roche, her estranged husband, had refused permission for the implantation. Mrs Roche's lawyers argued that the embryos were protected by article 40.3.3. of the Irish Constitution. The court rejected that argument.

Pat Buckley, Ireland spokesman for SPUC, told the media today that the court's interpretation was wrong and contrary to international human rights law:.
"The judges' interpretation of article 40.3.3 excluding human embryos from protection is wrong. This decision treats human embryos as if they are mere property, when in fact they are equal members of the human family. International human rights law does not exclude human embryos from the equal right to life upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments. There is no genetic difference between an embryo inside or outside the body. The right to life, which is inalienable, does not change according to location.

"Although it would be unethical for embryos outside the body to be implanted, it is permission for IVF, and not the Roches' estrangement, which has created this tragedy in which their children will never be born. Any legislation, therefore, which may be passed following this case should ban IVF."
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