Thursday 30 March 2017

Key cases that tested 'right to life' rules here

Edel Kennedy

Ms A: She fell pregnant by accident when she was unmarried, unemployed and living in poverty. She had four young children but, as she was an alcoholic, they had been taken into care. In the year preceding her pregnancy, she remained sober and was seeking custody of her children. She feared another child would jeopardise her health and the successful reunification of her family. She borrowed money and travelled to England to have an abortion. The court ruled that her human rights had not been violated.

Ms B: She had taken the morning after pill but she still fell pregnant. She was advised by two doctors that there was a substantial risk of an ectopic pregnancy and made the decision to have an abortion because she could not care for a child on her own. Although it was confirmed it was not an ectopic pregnancy, she booked a flight to the UK. The clinic advised her to tell her GP she had a miscarriage. She suffered some complications and was forced to seek follow-up care in a Dublin clinic. The court ruled her human rights had not been violated.

Ms C: After undergoing three years of chemotherapy, she unintentionally fell pregnant. She was unaware of this and underwent a series of cancer tests which should not be carried out during pregnancy. She sought a number of medical opinions but no doctor would confirm her life was at risk, and therefore she was not entitled to a legal abortion here. She believed her risk to be so great, she travelled to the UK for an abortion. The court ruled Ireland failed to properly implement the constitutional right to abortion where the woman's life is at risk.

Irish Independent

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