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Anti-abortion group angered by embryo ruling

Published 15/11/2006

The Pro Life Campaign said today they were disappointed with an Irish High Court ruling which found frozen embryos have no right to life.

The pressure group called for a new law to protect fertilised eggs.

Dr Berry Kiely, the organisation's medical adviser, said the legislation lacked clarity and undermined people's rights.

``There can be no doubt that the human embryo is alive and unborn. The embryo is not potential human life - it is human life with potential, albeit fragile and dependent,'' he said.

``The suggestion that an embryo should only enjoy protection rights when implanted in a woman's womb is arbitrary and ignores the fact that each of us began life as a human embryo.

``Whenever the law lacks clarity regarding the most basic right, namely the right to life, it undermines the basis for all other self-evident rights we cherish.''

The Pro Life Campaign believes human life begins at the point of fertilisation. The group insists the human embryo has a dignity and value by virtue of its humanity whether or not it is implanted and has a right to be cared for and protected from harm.

The view is shared by the Catholic Church which believes a new human being exists once fertilisation is completed.

The Irish Bishops Committee for Bioethics stated this brings with it an obligation of respect and in the interests of justice and the common good this obligation should be reflected in civil law.

Dr Kiely said: ``Separate entirely from the present case, there is need for legislation to protect the human embryo. There is nothing to stop such legislation being brought forward.

``It will, however, require political leadership.''

Dr Kiely noted countries that permit abortion, such as Italy and Germany, have laws protecting the human embryo from destructive experimentation.

She added: ``The Pro Life Campaign is confident the Supreme Court will vindicate the rights of the human embryo if the judgment is appealed.''

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