Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Irish judge has ruled that frozen embryos aren't "unborn"

This is an interesting story and ruling. Ireland's Constitution has an amendment which says,
"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

Yet Justice Brian McGovern ruled that the law didn't include frozen embryos because the individuals who wrote and voted for the amendment would have only meant children in the womb when thinking about the term "unborn." The term "unborn" is not defined by Ireland's Constitution according to the article.

This ruling will keep a mother from implanting embryos which were leftover from her and her now separated husband's attempt at IVF.

While it is probable the individuals who passed the prolife amendment to Ireland's Constitution weren't thinking of frozen embryos, the language doesn't seem to exclude them either and it is quite clear that frozen embryos are in reality "unborn" since they haven't been born.

The judge also seems to have some trouble distinguishing between scientific reality and moral beliefs. According to the article he said, "Even within different religions, there can be disagreements as to when genetic material becomes a `human being'. But it is not the function of the courts to choose between competing religious and moral beliefs."

So then I guess if one religion says "genetic material" doesn't become a human being until 60 days after birth then the courts would be unable to choose between "competing religious and moral beliefs."

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