Saturday 1 October 2016

Woman turned down for abortion in Irish hospital after review

Published 27/08/2016 | 02:30

A woman who wanted to have an abortion performed in an Irish hospital was refused the termination last year after taking her case to a review panel. (Stock image)
A woman who wanted to have an abortion performed in an Irish hospital was refused the termination last year after taking her case to a review panel. (Stock image)

A woman who wanted to have an abortion performed in an Irish hospital was refused the termination last year after taking her case to a review panel, the Irish Independent has learned.

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The circumstances of the woman, whose details have not been released, were deemed to be outside the legal scope of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act of 2013.

She was initially refused the abortion and went on to avail of her right to a review of the decision.

This review is conducted before a panel of medical practitioners. These are drawn from a group of doctors who have volunteered to sit on the panels.

In cases where there is a risk of suicide, there must be two psychiatrists on the review panel.

The doctors who are reviewing the case must not have been involved in the original decision to refuse the termination.

Dr Philip Crowley, the HSE's National Director of Quality Improvement, in a report to Health Minister Simon Harris, said she did not meet the criteria for a "lawful termination."

Under the legislation, a termination of pregnancy is allowed to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Risk

It is permissible where the threat to life is due to physical illness or there is a risk of suicide.

Just one review of a refusal to carry out a termination was recorded last year.

Some 26 terminations were carried out here under the ­legislation in 2015. Fourteen pregnancies were terminated due to physical illness, and nine were allowed in cases where a woman's life was at risk.

In 2014, there were also 26 terminations of pregnancy. Three of the cases were of women who were shown to be at risk of suicide as a result of their pregnancy. The other 23 cases were related to the woman's health, such as physical illnesses and emergency situations.

The relatively low number of terminations under the legislation so far has shown that fears about "opening the floodgates", particularly under the heading of 'suicide risk', have not materialised.

However, last year some 3,451 women who gave their addresses in Republic of Ireland had an abortion in England and Wales.

This was a decrease of 7.6pc compared to 2014. But agencies in favour of widening the law here insist the real figure is higher. They also warn of the practice of buying abortion pills online.

Irish Independent

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