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11 / 02 / 2009 - Irish Attorney General accused of `complete sell-out of right-to-life of the unborn child he is supposed to represent`.
Youth Defence says court has no legal or moral authority
to limit right to life of unborn child
Youth Defence has sharply criticized what it said was a “complete sell out of the right-to-life of the human embryo” by the Attorney General in the Supreme Court today. The pro-life organization said that the statements made by Donal O’Donnell SC, for the Attorney General, were a dereliction of professional duty given that Mr O’Donnell was employed to represent and defend the right to life of unborn children for the state.
They also pointed out that the Supreme Court had no legal or moral authority to limit the right to life of the human embryo, and that the people had previously voted, by the rejecting the 2002 abortion amendment, against limiting the constitutional right to life of the unborn to post-implanted children.
In the Supreme Court this afternoon Mr O’Donnell said an embryo is not an “unborn” within the meaning of Article 40.3.3, and that, in his opinion, the destruction of fertilised embryos prior to implantation in a woman’s womb is permitted under law. He declared that it was not the wish of the people, when passing the 1983 pro-life amendment, to protect the pre-implanted embryo. Mr O’Donnell is supposed to be representing the interests of the unborn child for the state in a case involving a separated mother of two who was refused leave by the High Court to have three frozen embryos released to her against the wishes of her estranged husband.
Youth Defence spokesman Eoghan de Faoite said that the Attorney General’s office had put forward a speculative guess as to the intentions of the electorate in 1983, but was passing off this guess as if it were certain knowledge. He said the Attorney General had no factual basis for insisting that the people who approved 40.3.3 did not intend to protect the pre-implanted embryo. “The 1983 pro-life amendment does not state that it wishes to restrict protection to the child in the womb,” he said. “It simply guarantees the right to life of the unborn – and makes no distinction between unborn children in the womb and pre-implanted embryos. For the Attorney General to insist he knows the mind of the electorate is outrageous – as his abandonment of his client, the unborn child, in this case now before the Supreme Court.”
Mr de Faoite also pointed out that, in the 1996 Hanafin judgment, Justice Hamilton ruled that “Because of the secrecy of the ballot, it is not possible to ascertain, by direct evidence, the factors which influenced the people in casting their votes, what their motives were in casting their votes or the reasons why they cast their votes in a particular way.”
He said the Supreme Court judges hearing the current case should take note of this precedent since they were being encouraged by the Attorney General to guess what the motives of the people were in casting their votes in 1983, and, as Justice Hamilton pointed out, this was not possible to ascertain.
He added that the only statement the Irish people had made on the pre-implanted embryo was to reject an attempt in the proposed 2002 abortion amendment to limit legal protection to the child implanted in the womb.
Mr de Faoite also pointed out that Louise Brown – the first baby born through an IVF procedure – was born in 1978, a full five years before the 1983 pro-life amendment and that to argue that this would not have been considered by the people was ludicrous.
In the ongoing case in the Supreme Court regarding frozen embryos, the Attorney General, represented by Donal O’ Donnell, has stated in court that the embryo outside of the womb has no legal protection. He based this on his opinion that the people who voted in 1983 only meant to grant protection to embryos after implantation in the womb.
The Attorney General must discuss his business with the cabinet, so you can be sure that government ministers approved this argument.
Please contact the Attorney General TODAY to register your indignation with his actions. The following is a recommended approach:
I am outraged that the Attorney General went into the Supreme Court and said that embryos outside of the womb have no legal right to life. I voted yes in 1983, the Attorney General has no right to presume that I and all the other voters did not want to protect embryos from conception.
His contact details are:
01 631 4000 (outside Republic of Ireland - 003531 631 4000)
Please contact them TODAY. We cannot afford to be silent about this.