AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application No. 14234/88         Application No. 14235/88
by OPEN DOOR COUNSELLING LTD.    by DUBLIN WELL WOMAN CENTRE & Others
against Ireland                  against Ireland


        The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private
on 15 May 1990, the following members being present:

             MM.  C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                  J. A. FROWEIN
                  S. TRECHSEL
                  F. ERMACORA
                  G. SPERDUTI
                  E. BUSUTTIL
                  G. JÖRUNDSSON
                  A. WEITZEL
                  H. G. SCHERMERS
                  H. DANELIUS
                  G. BATLINER
             Mrs. G. H. THUNE
             Sir  Basil HALL
             MM.  F. MARTINEZ
             Mrs.  J. LIDDY
             Mr.  L. LOUCAIDES

             Mr.  H. C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission,

        Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

        Having regard to the application introduced on 19 August 1988
by OPEN DOOR COUNSELLING LTD. against Ireland and registered on
23 September 1988 under file No. 14234/88;

        Having regard to the application introduced on
15 September 1988 by DUBLIN WELL WOMAN CENTRE AND OTHERS against
Ireland and registered on 22 September 1988 under file No. 14235/88;

        Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the
Rules of Procedure of the Commission;

        Having deliberated;

        Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

        The first application (No. 14234/88) is brought by Open Door
Counselling Ltd., which is represented by Mr. James Hickey,
solicitor, of the firm of Amorys, Solicitors, Dublin.

        The second application (No. 14235/88) is brought by the
following applicants:

-       Dublin Well Woman Centre Ltd.;

-       Ms.  Bonnie Maher, born in 1945, a citizen of the United States
of America, who works as a trained counsellor for the  Dublin Well
Woman Centre Ltd.;

-       Ms.  Ann Downes, born in 1960, a citizen of Ireland, who also
works as a counsellor for the Dublin Well Woman Centre Ltd.;

-       Mrs.  X, born in 1950, a citizen of Ireland, who is a
television producer and is married with three children.

-       Miss Y, born in 1970, a citizen of Ireland, who is, at present,
unemployed.

        The applicants in the second application are represented by
Mrs.  Mary Robinson, S.C., of counsel and Barbara Hussey and Co.,
solicitors, Dublin.

        The first applicant company was engaged inter alia in
non-directive counselling of pregnant women in Dublin and other parts
of Ireland.  The second applicant company was established in 1977 to
provide a broad range of services relating to counselling and
marriage, family planning, procreation and health matters.  The
services offered by the Centre relate to every aspect of women's
health, ranging from smear tests to breast examinations, infection
testing, screening, gynaecological problems, contraception,
infertility, artificial insemination and non-directive counselling of
pregnant women.  The Centre employs doctors, nurses and counsellors
and operates two clinics in Dublin.

        The facts which are not in dispute between the parties are as
follows:

        The applicant companies were defendants in proceedings in the High
Court which were commenced on 28 June 1985 as a private action brought
by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Ireland) Ltd.
(SPUC) which was converted into a relator action brought at the suit
of the Attorney General by order of the High Court of 24 September
1986 (the Attorney General at the relation of the Society for the
Protection of Unborn Children (Ireland) Ltd. v.  Open Door Counselling
Ltd. and the Dublin Well Woman Centre Ltd.).

        The plaintiff sought a declaration that the activities of the
applicant companies in counselling pregnant women within the
jurisdiction of the court to travel abroad to obtain an abortion were
unlawful having regard to Article 40.3.3° of the Constitution.  The
plaintiff further sought an order restraining the defendants from such
counselling or assistance.

        No evidence was adduced at the hearing of the action which
proceeded on the basis of certain agreed facts which were admitted by
each of the two defendants.  The relevant agreed facts concerning the
second applicant company may be summarised as follows:

a.   it counsels in a non-directive manner pregnant
     women resident in Ireland;

b.   abortion or termination of pregnancy may be one of
     the options discussed within the said counselling;

c.   if a pregnant woman wants to consider the abortion
     option further, arrangements will be made by the
     applicant to refer her to a medical clinic in
     Great Britain;

d.   in certain circumstances, the applicant may arrange
     the travel requirements of such pregnant woman;

e.   the applicant will inspect the medical clinic in
     Great Britain to ensure that it operates at the
     highest standards;

f.   at those medical clinics abortions have been performed
     on pregnant women who have been previously counselled
     by the applicant;

g.   pregnant women resident in Ireland have been referred to
     medical clinics in Great Britain where abortions are
     performed for many years including the months of November
     and December 1984.

        The first applicant company agreed in substance to all of
the above facts with the exception of point (d).

        The parties also agreed on the meaning of the concept of
non-directive counselling which was subsequently described by the
Supreme Court as follows (judgment of 16 March 1988, Mr.  Justice
Finlay C.J., p. 6):

"It was submitted on behalf of each of the Defendants that
the meaning of non-directive counselling in these agreed
sets of facts was that it was counselling which neither
included advice nor was judgemental but that it was a
service essentially directed to eliciting from the client
her own appreciation of her problem and her own considered
choice for its solution.  This interpretation of the phrase
'non-directive counselling' in the context of the activities
of the Defendants was not disputed on behalf of the
Respondent.  It follows from this, of course, that
non-directive counselling to pregnant women would never
involve the actual advising of an abortion as the preferred
option but neither, of course, could it permit the giving of
advice for any reason to the pregnant women receiving such
counselling against choosing to have an abortion."

        On 19 December 1986 Mr.  Justice Hamilton found that the
activities of the defendants in counselling pregnant women within the
jurisdiction of the Court to travel abroad to obtain an abortion or to
obtain further advice on abortion within a foreign jurisdiction were
unlawful having regard to the provisions of Article 40.3.3° of the
Constitution of Ireland.  This provision provides as follows:

"The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and,
with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother,
guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as
practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right."

An injunction was therefore granted "... that the Defendants and each
of them, their servants or agents, be perpetually restrained from
counselling or assisting pregnant women within the jurisdiction of
this Court to obtain further advice on abortion or to obtain an
abortion."

        The High Court made no order relating to the costs of the
proceedings, leaving each side to bear its own legal costs.

        The defendants appealed against the decision of the High Court
to the Supreme Court which delivered judgment on 16 March 1988
rejecting the appeal.

        The Supreme Court noted that the appellants did not consider
it essential to the service which they provided for pregnant women in
Ireland that they should take any part in arranging the travel of such
women who wished to go abroad for the purpose of having an abortion or
that they arranged bookings in clinics for such women.  However, it was
considered essential to the service they sought to provide that they
should be at liberty to inform such women who wished to have an
abortion outside the jurisdiction of the court of the name, address,
telephone number and method of communication with a specified clinic
which they had examined and were satisfied that it was one which
maintained a high standard.

        As regards the central issue in the case, the Supreme Court
found as follows:

"... the essential issues in this case do not in any way
depend upon the Plaintiff establishing that the Defendants
were advising or encouraging the procuring of abortions.
The essential issue in this case, having regard to the
nature of the guarantees contained in Article 40.3.3° of the
Constitution is the issue as to whether the Defendants'
admitted activities were assisting pregnant women within the
jurisdiction to travel outside that jurisdiction in order to
have an abortion.  To put the matter in another way, the
issue and the question of fact to be determined is:  were
they thus assisting in the destruction of the life of the
unborn?

        I am satisfied beyond doubt that having regard to
the admitted facts the Defendants were assisting in the
ultimate destruction of the life of the unborn by abortion
in that they were helping the pregnant woman who had
decided upon that option to get in touch with a clinic in
Great Britain which would provide the service of abortion.
It seems to me an inescapable conclusion that if a woman was
anxious to obtain an abortion and if she was able by
availing of the counselling services of one or other of the
Defendants to obtain the precise location, address and
telephone number of and method of communication with, a
clinic in Great Britain which provided that service, put in
plain language, that was knowingly helping her to attain her
objective.  I am, therefore, satisfied that the finding
made by the learned trial Judge that the Defendants were
assisting pregnant women to travel abroad to obtain further
advice on abortion and to secure an abortion is well
supported on the evidence ...".

        Mr.  Justice Finlay C.J. indicated in the judgment of the Court
that the phrase in Article 40.3.3° "with due regard to the equal right
to life of the mother" did not arise for interpretation in the case
since the applicants were not claiming that the service they were
providing for pregnant women was "in any way confined to or especially
directed towards the due regard to the equal right to life of the
mother ...".

        The Supreme Court also found that there was no constitutional
right to information about the availability of abortion outside the
State.  The Court stated as follows:

        "The performing of an abortion on a pregnant woman
terminates the unborn life which she is carrying.  Within
the terms of Article 40.3.3° it is a direct destruction of
the constitutionally guaranteed right to life of that
unborn child.

        It must follow from this that there could not be an
implied and unenumerated constitutional right to information
about the availability of a service of abortion outside the
State which, if availed of, would have the direct consequence
of destroying the expressly guaranteed constitutional right
to life of the unborn.  As part of the submission on this
issue it was further suggested that the right to receive and
give information which, it was alleged, existed and was
material to this case was, though not expressly granted,
impliedly referred to or involved in the right of citizens
to express freely their convictions and opinions provided by
Article 40.6.1° (i) of the Constitution, since, it was
claimed, the right to express freely convictions and opinions
may, under some circumstances, involve as an ancillary right
the right to obtain information.  I am satisfied that no right
could constitutionally arise to obtain information the purpose
of the obtaining of which was to defeat the constitutional
right to life of the unborn child."

The Court upheld the decision of the High Court to grant an injunction
but varied the form of the order as follows:

"And it is ordered that the Defendants and each of them,
their and each of their servants or agents be perpetually
restrained from assisting pregnant women within the
jurisdiction to travel abroad to obtain abortions by
referral to a clinic, by the making for them of travel
arrangements, or by informing them of the identity and
location of and the method of communication with a specified
clinic or clinics or otherwise."

        In a further hearing before the Supreme Court on
3 May 1988 the costs of the Supreme Court appeal were awarded against
the defendants, making them liable for costs amounting to £42,166.71.

        Following the judgment of the Supreme Court the first
applicant company ceased to operate.

        In a subsequent case concerning abortion information contained
in a students' publication the Supreme Court issued an interlocutory
injunction restraining students from "publishing or distributing or
assisting in the printing, publishing or distribution of any
publication produced under their aegis providing information to
persons (including pregnant women) of the identity and location of and
the method of communication with a specified clinic or clinics where
abortions are performed" (Society for the Protection of Unborn
Children (Ireland) Ltd. v.  Stephen Grogan and Others, judgment of
19 December 1989).

        Mr.  Justice Finlay C.J. (Griffin J and Hederman J concurring)
considered that the reasoning of the Court in the case brought against
the applicant companies applied to the activities of the students
(loc. cit., p. 11):

"I reject as unsound the contention that the activity
involved in this case of publishing in the students' manuals
the name, address and telephone number, when telephoned from
this State, of abortion clinics in the United Kingdom, and
distributing such manuals in Ireland, can be distinguished
from the activity condemned by this Court in the Open Door
Counselling case on the grounds that the facts of that case
were that the information was conveyed during periods of
one-to-one non-directive counselling.

It is clearly the fact that such information is conveyed to
pregnant women, and not the method of communication which
creates the unconstitutional illegality, and the judgment of
this Court in the Open Door Counselling case is not open to
any other interpretation."

COMPLAINTS

        Article 10 of the Convention

        The applicant companies and the two applicant counsellors
complain under Article 10 of the Convention that there is an
unjustifiable interference with their right to impart specific
information about abortion clinics in Britain to pregnant women who
seek this information in the context of non-directive pregnancy
counselling.  They contend that this interference is not prescribed by
law and is disproportionate to the aims pursued since there are no
restrictions on pregnant women travelling to Great Britain in order to
obtain an abortion and there has been no reduction in the number of
Irish women having abortions in Great Britain.

        The applicants X and Y complain that, as women of
child-bearing age, they have a right to receive information relating
to abortion clinics operating lawfully in Britain whether this
information is imparted in the context of a counselling service in the
event of pregnancy or of a broader information service on issues
relevant to women.

        Article 8 of the Convention

        The first applicant company complains that the judgment of
the Supreme Court constitutes a violation of the right to privacy
guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention.

        The applicants X and Y maintain that the denial to them of
access to information concerning abortion in Great Britain also
constitutes an unjustifiable interference with their right to respect
for private life.  They submit that they have a right to such
information either as part of a general information service on women's
health questions or in the context of non-directive pregnancy
counselling in the event of either applicant being pregnant.

        Article 14 of the Convention

        The first applicant company complains that the decision of the
Supreme Court discriminates against women contrary to Article 14 of
the Convention since it is only women who are directly affected by the
denial of assistance and information.  It is contended that there is no
legitimate justification for this difference in treatment or,
alternatively, that there is no reasonable relationship of
proportionality between the means employed and the aim sought to be
realised.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

        Application No. 14234/88 (Open Door Counselling Ltd.)
was introduced on 19 August 1988 and registered on 22 September 1988.

        Application No. 14235/88 (Dublin Well Woman Centre and
Others) was introduced on 15 September 1988 and registered on 22
September 1988.

        The applications were first considered by the Commission on 14
March 1989 when it was decided to join them pursuant to Rule 29 of the
Commission's Rules of Procedure.  It was further decided, pursuant to
Rule 42 (b) of the Rules of Procedure, to bring the applications to the
notice of the respondent Government and to invite them to submit
before 2 June 1989 joint observations on the admissibility and merits
of the applications insofar as they raised issues under Article 10 and
(as regards Application No. 14235/88) Article 8 of the Convention.

        The Government's observations were subsequently submitted on
15 September 1989 following extensions of the time limit until
1 September 1989.  The applicants' observations in reply were
submitted on 9 November 1989.

        The Commission next considered the applications on
5 February 1990 and decided, in accordance with Rule 42, para. 3 of
its Rules of Procedure, to invite the parties to appear before it at a
joint hearing on the admissibility and merits of the applications
insofar as they raised issues under Articles 8 and 10 of the
Convention.

        The hearing took place in Strasbourg on 15 May 1990 and the
parties were represented as follows:

Respondent Government

Mr.  Peter E. Smyth                      Agent

Mr.  Dermot Gleeson SC                   Counsel

Mr.  James O'Reilly SC                   Counsel

Mr.  John F. Gormley                     Adviser,
                                        Office of the Attorney General

Ms.  Emer Kilcullen                      Adviser,
                                        Department of Foreign Affairs

The applicants

Mrs.  Mary Robinson SC                   Counsel

Mr.  Frank Clarke SC                     Counsel

Ms.  Barbara Hussey                      Solicitor (Hussey & Bates)

Ms.  Rita Burtonshaw                     Adviser ) Dublin Well Woman
                                                ) Centre Limited
Ms.  Mary McNeaney                       Adviser )

THE LAW

        The applicant companies and the two applicant counsellors
complain that they are unable to impart specific information about
abortion clinics in Great Britain to pregnant women who seek this
information.  In addition, two women of child-bearing age, X and Y,
complain that in the event of becoming pregnant they will be denied
access to accurate advice and information concerning abortion
facilities in Great Britain.

        All of the applicants invoke Article 10 (Art. 10) of the
Convention.  The first applicant company also invokes Articles 8
(Art. 8) and 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention.  Finally, the two women of
child-bearing age also complain of an interference with their right
to respect for private life contrary to Article 8 (Art. 8) of the
Convention.

        Article 25 para. 1 (Art. 25-1) of the Convention

        The Government submit that the applications should be rejected
on the grounds that none of the applicants is a "victim" within the
meaning of Article 25 para. 1 (Art. 25-1) of the Convention.  They contend:

(1) that the applicant companies as legal persons have no capacity to
enjoy human rights such as the right to impart information or the
right to privacy;

(2) that the applications are an attempt to test Irish law in
abstracto against the provisions of the Convention since none of the
applicants are pregnant women who can claim to have been directly
affected by the Supreme Court injunction and the applicants have not
been able to identify such a pregnant woman.

        Article 25 para. 1 (Art. 25-1), first sentence, states as follows:

"The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary-
General of the Council of Europe from any person,
non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming
to be the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting
Parties of the rights set forth in this Convention, provided that
the High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been
lodged has declared that it recognises the competence of the
Commission to receive such petitions.  ..."

        As regards the Government's first plea, the Commission notes
that the applicant companies fall clearly within the category of
"non-governmental organisation" within the meaning of Article 25
para. 1 (Art. 25-1) of the Convention.  Moreover, they were parties to the
proceedings before the Irish courts and were and continue to be
directly affected by the Supreme Court's injunction.  The Commission
further recalls that Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention applies to
"everyone" whether natural or legal persons (see, as the most recent
authority, Eur. Court H.R., Autronic AG judgment of 22 May 1990,
Series A, no. 178, para. 47).  Accordingly, it is open to these
applicants as corporate bodies to complain that they are "victims" of
interferences with Convention rights arising out of the facts
underlying the applications (see No. 6538/74, Dec. 21.3.75, D.R. 27, at
p. 95).

        As regards the Government's second plea under Article 25 (Art. 25),
the Commission observes that the applicant companies and the two
applicant counsellors are prevented by the Supreme Court injunction
from imparting specific information about abortion clinics in Great
Britain.  They can thus claim to be "victims" of a violation of their
rights under Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention.

        It is true that neither of the women of child-bearing age is
pregnant.  However, the Government have not shown that they would be
entitled, under the legal situation prevailing in Ireland, to receive
such information in advance of any pregnancy.  Moreover, information
concerning abortion is a matter which may fall within the field of
both Articles 8 (Art. 8) and 10 (Art. 10) respectively.  The
Commission does not consider that applicants must be pregnant before
they can complain of the legal regulation in this area (see
No. 6959/75, Dec. 19.5.76, Brüggemann and Scheuten v. Federal Republic
of Germany, D.R. 5, at p. 115).

        The Commission therefore finds that the applicants are not
seeking to challenge in abstracto the compatibility of Irish law with
the provisions of the Convention and can, for the above reasons, claim
to be "victims" within the meaning of Article 25 para. 1 (Art. 25-1),
first sentence, of the Convention.

         Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention

Six months rule

        The Government further submit that the applications should be
rejected on the basis of the six months rule contained in Article 26
(Art. 26) of the Convention.  They maintain that the applicants in the
course of their pleadings have presented a much wider and factually
different complaint to the Commission than that which was the subject
of litigation before the courts.

        Article 26 (Art. 26) of the Convention states as follows:

"The Commission may only deal with the matter after all
domestic remedies have been exhausted, according to the generally
recognised rules of international law, and within a period of six
months from the date on which the final decision was taken."

        The Commission notes that all of the applicants' complaints
under the Convention were raised in the petitions filed with the
Commission on 19 August 1988 (Open Door Counselling Ltd.) and on
15 September 1988 (Dublin Well Woman Centre Ltd. and Others).  The six
months rule in Article 26 (Art. 26) does not prevent the applicants from
developing their legal submissions in respect of these complaints in
the course of their written and oral submissions to the Commission.  In
particular, they have not sought to make new complaints in the guise
of legal submissions.

        The final decision being that of the judgment of the Supreme
Court dated 16 March 1988 the applications comply with the six months
rule.

Exhaustion of domestic remedies

        The Government further contend that the applicants have not
exhausted domestic remedies as required by Article 26 (Art. 26) of the
Convention.  They submit (1) that the applicants did not seek to raise
before the courts any issue relating to the "equal right to life of
the mother" contained in Article 40.3.3° of the Constitution.  In this
regard they note that the applicants make numerous submissions
concerning the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on the health of
women in Ireland;  (2) that the applicant counsellors present to the
Commission a complaint which is factually different from that decided
on agreed facts by the courts;  (3) that the applicants seek to rely
on United States constitutional case-law which was not pleaded before
the Irish courts;  (4) that the applicant women of child-bearing age have
not pursued any domestic remedies relating to their personal rights to
marital and individual privacy which have been recognised by the
courts in Ireland.

        The Commission recalls that the only remedies which Article 26
(Art. 26) of the Convention requires to be exhausted are those that
relate to the breaches alleged and that the existence of such remedies
must be sufficiently certain not only in theory but also in practice,
failing which they will lack the requisite accessibility and
effectiveness. Moreover, it falls to the Government to establish that
remedies satisfy these conditions (see, inter alia, Eur. Court H.R.,
Johnston judgment of 18 December 1986, Series A no. 112, p. 22,
para. 45).

        In addition the Commission observes that a distinction must be
drawn between an applicant's complaints and the legal submissions made
in support of his complaints.  An applicant is not required to show
that he has formulated the same legal submissions or arguments before
national courts as those presented to the Commission.  It is
sufficient that he raises before the national courts the substance of
any complaint made before the Commission (see, inter alia, Eur. Court
H.R., Handyside judgment of 7 December 1976, Series A no. 24, p. 20,
para. 41;  Campbell and Cosans judgment of 25 February 1982, Series A
no. 48, p. 18, para. 40).

        As regards the Government's first plea under Article 26 (Art. 26),
the Commission notes that the complaint concerns restrictions on the
imparting of information and that the applicant companies have clearly
raised the substance of this complaint before the Irish courts.  They
have therefore exhausted their domestic remedies in this regard.

        As regards the Government's second and third plea, the
Commission considers that it is open to the applicants to develop
their arguments in respect of Convention complaints which have been
raised in substance before the national courts and that these
submissions do not amount to fresh complaints in respect of which they
had not exhausted domestic remedies.

        Finally, as regards the Government's fourth plea, the
Commission notes that the complaint concerns access to information and
does not consider that the Government have shown that these applicants
would have any prospects of success in asserting privacy rights,
having regard to the high level of protection afforded in Ireland to
the constitutional right to life of the unborn child (see p. 5 above).

        Accordingly the Commission does not consider that the
applicants' complaints fall to be rejected for failure to exhaust
domestic remedies.

        Articles 8 (Art. 8), 10 (Art. 10) and 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention

        The applicant companies and the two applicant counsellors
contend that the Supreme Court injunction against them constitues an
unjustified interference with their right to impart specific
information about abortion clinics to pregnant women who seek this
information, contrary to Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention.  They
maintain   that such an interference is not prescribed by law since
the restriction could not have been foreseeably derived from Article
40.3.3° of the Constitution.  They submit that the interference is
disproportionate to the aims pursued since there are no restrictions
on pregnant women travelling to Great Britain in order to obtain an
abortion and there has been no reduction in the number of Irish women
having abortions in Great Britain.  They also contend that the effect
of the injunction has been to significantly increase the risk to life
and health of such pregnant women.  In addition, two Irish women of
child-bearing age who seek to have access to accurate advice and
information in the event of becoming pregnant complain of an
interference with their right to receive information protected by
Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention.  They further complain that
the denial to them of access to information constitutes an
unjustifiable interference with their private life, contrary to
Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.

        The first applicant company also complains that the decision
of the Supreme Court constitutes a violation of the right to privacy
guaranteed by Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention.  The applicant company
contends that the Supreme Court's decision effectively finds that the
right to life of the foetus is absolute and superior to all rights of
the mother.  In addition, the first applicant company complains under
Article 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention that the decision of the
Supreme Court discriminates against women since it is only women who
are directly affected by the denial of assistance and information.

        The Government submit, with respect to the applicants'
complaints under Article 10 (Art. 10) that the restriction in the present cases
was foreseeable and thus prescribed by law since the right to life of
the unborn is part of the common law of Ireland, is embodied in
statute law and is expressly guaranteed by the Constitution of
Ireland.  They further submit that, having regard to the wide margin
of appreciation to which the State is entitled in the area of
abortion, the interference is necessary in a democratic society for
the protection of the rights of others (i.e., the unborn) as well as
the prevention of crime and the protection of morals.  They stress in
this context, with particular reference to Articles 2 (Art. 2) and
17 (Art. 17) of the Convention, the finding by the Supreme Court that
the activities of the applicants, especially the provision of
information concerning the location, address and telephone numbers of
clinics, amounted to assisting in the destruction of the life of the
unborn.  They maintain, with reference to Article 60 (Art. 60) of
the Convention, that it is not open to the Convention organs to
question the higher protection of the rights of the unborn under
Irish law, which have been fully endorsed by a recent constitutional
referendum.

        In addition, the Government submit that the interference with
the private rights of the two applicant women of child-bearing age is
justified as necessary in a democratic society for the protection of
the rights of the unborn, as well as for the prevention of crime and
the protection of morals.

        Finally, the Government contend that it is not open to the
first applicant company to complain of an interference with a right to
privacy under Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention or of
discrimination under Article 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention.

        The Commission considers, in the light of the parties'
submissions, that the applications as a whole raise complex issues of
law and fact under the Convention, the determination of which depends
on an examination of the merits of the applications.

        It concludes, therefore, that the applications cannot be
regarded as manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27
para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention and no other ground for declaring
them inadmissible has been established.

        For these reasons, the Commission

        DECLARES THE APPLICATIONS ADMISSIBLE
        without prejudging the merits of the case.

Secretary to the Commission             President of the Commission


     (H. C. KRÜGER)                          (C. A. NØRGAARD)