The court ruled that the unborn have no rights under the constitution outside the 8th Amendment

The Supreme Court has ruled that the unborn have no rights under the Constitution outside of the Eighth Amendment.

The decision from the seven judge court overturns a High Court ruling handed down last year. 

The Court has ruled that the rights of the unborn in the constitution are confined to the right to life alone.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke gave the verdict in the last few minutes.

"Neither the Common Law cases and statutory provisions, nor the pre and post Eighth amendment cases relied on when analysed and understood, support the High Court's conclusions that the unborn possess inherent constitutionally protected rights other than those expressly provided for in Article 40.3.3," he said.

The ruling means the government can proceed with its plan to call a referendum on the Eighth amendment.

It is likely a special cabinet meeting will be called tomorrow to approve the referendum bill, which will detail the question people that will be put to the people.

The bill must be approved by the Dáil and Seanad before the date of the referendum is set down.

The Taoiseach wants the Dáil to sit on Friday to start debating the bill.

If it doesn't, the Government could find it difficult to hold the Referendum in May as planned - because the Dáil does not sit next week and is off for a further two weeks over Easter.