Ruling raises issues that can’t be deferred

Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of the State in the appeal against a landmark decision that a genetic mother of twins born to a surrogate can be registered as their legal mother on their birth certificates will add to myriad complexities over reproductive services facing our besieged Government. 

The ruling lengthens the list of issues rationally enough regarded as toxic by many politicians. This reluctance is understandable but unfortunately unacceptable.

The Government has already said that the abortion issue, probably the most divisive one in society, will not be revisited by this Dáil hinting that, if re-elected, it might look at the issue again in the next parliament. This long-fingering has done considerable damage to the credibility of our political institutions and underlined the absence of strong-willed, courageous leadership in nearly all political parties.

It is, if we are allowed to mix our metaphors, far easier to kick the can down the road rather than into the lions’ den as the three-decades-long prevarication over abortion has shown. Speaking in the Supreme Court yesterday Mrs Justice Susan Denham said as much when she pointed out that the issues involved were “quintessentially” for the legislature, not the courts, to address. There was “clearly merit” in the legislature doing so as there was a legal “lacuna” about certain rights, especially those of children born via such arrangements. That seems clear enough.


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