Constitutional crisis regarding children
In the recent referendum 1,429,981 people voted to replace Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland with: “Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.” Every pregnancy has a termination, the majority of which are live births but the object of this new provision is to prevent live births by means of abortion. Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of the unborn child. Article 15.5.2 of the Constitution reads: “The Oireachtas shall not enact any law providing for the imposition of the death penalty.” The Irish Times commemorated the 25th anniversary of Ireland’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, on November 20, 2017. A special supplement was published to include messages from the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon and from the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins.
On April 27 the executive director of Amnesty International wrote that the convention “does not provide the right to life prenatally”. The preamble includes the following paragraph: “The child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, need special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well after birth.”
Article 3 [of the convention] includes the following: “In all actions concerning children ... the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration” Article 6 reads: “1. States parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life.”
If the Ombudsman for Children (Dr Muldoon) — in saying that Nation’s that ratify this convention are bound to it by international law — is correct, do we have a constitutional crisis? Gerry Glennon
Dun Laoghaire Co Dublin