DUBLIN, December 10, 2010 ( – Irish Pro-life leaders are asking for prayers as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) prepares to rule on the admissibility of Ireland’s pro-life constitution.

In the ABC Case, three women complained to the ECHR that the pro-life clause in the Irish constitution banning abortion in all but a few circumstances violated their human rights. Each of the women, two Irish and one Lithuanian residing in Ireland, went to the UK to obtain abortions and have claimed that the Irish pro-life law threatened their health.

The Court is expected to hand down a ruling on Thursday, December 16th. With the ratification of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty , all decisions of the ECHR have become automatically binding on all member states.

Ireland is one of only a handful of European Union member states that retain meaningful legal restrictions on abortion, along with Poland and the tiny Mediterranean island state of Malta.

“The Court must acknowledge the right to life of the weakest and most vulnerable members of the human family if it is to retain any credibility in defending the most fundamental right of all human beings,” said Patrick Buckley, an Irishman and EU spokesman for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

“The rule of law must be based on both justice and reason – and creating a right to kill children in the womb is irrational.”

Buckley said that the ECHR has “failed” in the past to defend the fundamental right to the life of children before birth that is enshrined in numerous treaties and international agreements, “while no international treaty has ever recognized access to abortion as a human right.”

The ABC case was orchestrated by the Irish Family Planning Association, a leading abortion lobbyist group, in an effort to overturn Ireland’s pro-life laws, which were put in place by a 1983 referendum. The abortion lobby, Buckley said, has turned to the unelected courts, and finally a European court, “because it has failed to persuade the people of Ireland to legalize abortion.”

Buckley warned that should the ECHR rule against the Irish law, it would be a step towards establishing an internationally recognized “human right” to abortion.

Other Irish pro-life voices are saying that the ABC case is a case in point for why the leading voices in the Irish pro-life movement campaigned against the Lisbon ratification.

“The Irish government would do well to remember that the Irish people were a higher authority than any European Court and that the people had long shown that they would not tolerate the imposition of abortion on Ireland by a external power,” said Niamh Uí Bhriain of the Life Institute.

Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence, Ireland’s largest and most active pro-life organization, noted that the ECHR had a very poor record in defending the human rights of the unborn child, saying, “A ruling in favour of abortion would make a nonsense of the aim of the Court which is to uphold and enforce the rights of all human beings.”

“Without the right to life all other rights eventually became meaningless,” she added.