Pro-life groups have been given permission to intervene in a key European court case about Ireland’s abortion ban.
The case has been brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by three Irish women seeking to establish a ‘right’ to abortion in the Republic.
The current law in Ireland outlaws abortion unless the mother’s life would be threatened by continuing the pregnancy.
The three women say that their human rights were breached when they were denied abortions.
Two of them wanted abortions because of physical complications with their pregnancies, while the third felt unable to cope with a new baby after her other children had been taken into care.
Campaigners have warned that if the case is successful it could set a precedent that influences abortion law across Europe.
The case is being supported by the pro-abortion campaign group Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).
The ECHR has now granted permission for the Family Research Council (FRC), with lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), to intervene in the case to defend Ireland’s current abortion law.
Bill Saunders, of the FRC, said: “Ireland has wisely chosen to protect its most vulnerable citizens and we will work tirelessly to ensure that unborn children remained protected in Ireland.”
The decision of the ECHR in this case will only be binding on Ireland. However, if the court rules against Ireland, it will increase political pressure on other ECHR member states that have restrictive abortion laws.
In a similar case in Poland, a woman who was warned that her pregnancy may seriously damage her eyesight was denied an abortion. In that case the European Court of Human Rights recommended that the Polish law be reviewed.