By Hilary White
DUBLIN, July 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This month’s appointment of High Court Judge Liam McKechnie to the Irish Supreme Court has alarmed some Irish pro-life advocates who have compared him to the “unjust judge” of the New Testament parable, who “neither feared God nor had respect for people.”
The Life Institute’s Dr. Seán Ó Domhnaill cited McKechnie’s ruling in the 2007 “D” case of an anencephalic child in which barristers argued that the child did not deserve the protection of Ireland’s pro-life law because she did not qualify as an “unborn person.”
The barrister who argued the case, Dónal Ó Donnell, has also been appointed to the Supreme Court. The then-16 year-old “Miss D,” who was not named in court documents, won her petition to travel to the UK to have the baby “induced” before term. McKechnie ruled that he “firmly and unequivocally” held that there was no law or constitutional impediment preventing Miss D travelling for the purpose of abortion and ruled the right to life of the unborn cannot interfere with the right to travel for an abortion.
In his ruling, McKechnie had described the baby, whom Miss D had named Jasmine, as “an aberration of nature.”
Dr. Ó Domhnaill has said that given the predilection of the abortion industry to use the courts in attempts to overrule pro-life laws, these most recent government nominees should be a cause of concern.
John Smeaton, director of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, wrote, “He reminds me of the kind of judge Jesus had in mind in the parable of the unjust judge ‘who neither feared God nor had respect for people’. May God judge him more mercifully than he appears to judge the disabled.”
Tony de Barra, a disability rights supporter said, “The sort of thinking that would deny a baby who may have a disability the right to life is offensive and intolerable.
“The tone of this comment indicates a view that abortion is the ‘cure’ for disability. It has a negative impact for the disabled in society where they could be viewed as ‘the one that got away’ – a sort of waste of resources.”
Among Justice McKechnie’s other high profile cases was that of Lydia Foy, a “transsexual” man, born Donal Mark Foy, who went through the courts to have his sex changed to female on his birth certificate. In legal proceedings beginning in 1997, Foy, who had undergone irreversible “sex reassignment” surgery, complained that because he had been born a “congenitally disabled woman,” the “error” on his original birth certificate may interfere with his right to marry a man.
In 2002, McKechnie ruled against Foy, saying that his original birth certificate reflected medical and scientific reality. In 2007, however, after the passage of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act 2004, McKechnie reversed his previous ruling, saying that Ireland was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and issued the first declaration of the incompatibility between Irish and European law.
McKechnie ruled that the state had failed “to provide for 'meaningful recognition' of her female identity.” McKechnie called on the Irish parliament to adopt legislation matching that of the UK in recognizing “transsexualism.”
McKechnie’s nomination to the Supreme Court was announced on the day after the government withdrew its appeal against this 2007 judgment.