The Irish Supreme Court on Tuesday Dec. 15th rejected a request by a woman to be implanted with frozen embryos brought into being during IVF treatment. The woman’s estranged husband had refused permission for the implantation. Lawyers for the woman Mary Roche had argued that the embryos were protected by article 40.3.3. of the Irish Constitution. The five judge court upheld the High Court’s findings that the embryos are not the "unborn" within the meaning of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution and therefore not entitled to Constitutional protection, saying that the "unborn" referred to a child within the womb and not pre-implanted embryos. The court also ruled that consent was required to proceed with the implantation
Pat Buckley, Ireland spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), in a statement criticised the Supreme court decision and said that the court's interpretation was 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 brought into being outside the body to be implanted, it was the original decision to use 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. The huge strides that have been made in the treatment of infertility using NAPRO technology will in due course render unnecessary, this illicit and outdated solution to the tragedy of infertility”
Íde Nic Mhathúna in a statement on behalf of Youth Defence said
“[T]he government needs to act to restore the protection to the human embryo which the pro-life majority presumes existed since 1983,” she added that any attempt to use the Roche v Roche judgment to introduce embryo research would be “unacceptable, and would ultimately fail since it would be very strongly opposed.”