Reacting to the judgment, Cardinal Brady said the decision raised profound moral and legal issues that will require careful analysis and reflection.
“Today’s judgment leaves future policy in Ireland on protecting the lives of unborn children in the hands of the Irish people and does not oblige Ireland to introduce legislation authorising abortion. The Irish Constitution clearly says that the right to life of the unborn child is equal to that of his or her mother. These are the fundamental human rights at stake,” he said.
Pro-life campaigners attacked the European Court’s decision on the right of women to access abortion and warned any move to legalise it here would be vigorously fought.
Youth Defence said the ruling was an intrusive “attempt to violate Ireland’s pro-life laws”.
Other anti-abortion groups also claimed the court decision about woman C, who feared her pregnancy would cause a relapse of her cancer, did not need to be upheld by the Government.
Youth Defence claimed the European Court of Human Rights in previous judgments had supported abortion and that the ruling was an attempt to overturn Ireland’s ban on abortion.
Niamh Uí Bhríain of the Life Institute said Irish people would make the final decision on the issue and not Europe: “That’s a right the Irish people feel very strongly about — and that’s why our politicians haven’t moved to legalise abortion here — because there would be uproar.”
Youth Defence said the Irish people had rejected abortion in three separate referenda. The group’s Rebecca Roughneen added: “This is one country which has not fallen to the abortion industry, and we’re working to keep it that way.”
Legal advisor to the pro-life campaign, William Binchy, also claimed the judgment did not require Ireland to introduce legislation authorising abortion. A calm, respectful national discussion was now needed on the issue, added Mr Binchy.
In regard to the court case, he questioned why there was now a blur between necessary medical treatments for women and abortion.
Senator Ronan Mullen also claimed legislation did not need to follow the European ruling but rather another referendum should be put to the people. “The Government must turn again to the democratic option of a referendum, to allow the Irish people an opportunity to reaffirm our constitutional protection of all human beings, including the unborn, while guaranteeing best medical care for women in pregnancy.”