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Ireland High Court holds constitution no bar to traveling abroad for abortion

[JURIST] The High Court of Ireland [official backgrounder] ruled Wednesday that the Irish constitution [PDF text] does not prevent a minor girl in state care from traveling to the UK to have an abortion. Lawyers appointed by Attorney General Rory Brady [official website] argued that the constitution precluded state employees from assisting the girl, but Justice Liam McKechnie held that this was not at issue in the case. McKechnie also held that the argument presented by the Irish Health Service Executive [official website] that the girl needed to obtain court permission to travel was invalid.

The minor began to seek to have an abortion after an April screening under the care of the Health Service Executive revealed a brain defect in the fetus that would cause it to die quickly after birth. In November, the High Court held that the protection of an unborn's right to life under Article 40 of the Irish constitution does not include the preservation of embryos frozen [JURIST report] as a part of infertility treatment. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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