independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Man drops action over abortion plan

A man has dropped a court case aimed at stopping a woman going to the UK for an abortion

A man has dropped a legal action he took to stop his girlfriend travelling to the UK for an abortion, after commitments that the pregnancy will not be terminated.

The couple, who cannot be identified and are from different countries outside Ireland, cried and hugged outside the courtroom when the case was withdrawn. It is understood the woman is continuing with her pregnancy.

Barrister Seamas O Tuathail, acting for the man, told the High Court in Dublin that his client wanted to withdraw his application. "As shown in the (woman's) affidavit, matters will continue as of present in relation to the pregnancy," he said.

The man had brought the legal action earlier this week claiming that he feared his pregnant girlfriend was going to be taken by her family to the UK against her will to undergo an abortion. He had asked the High Court to order a psychiatric assessment of his girlfriend to establish if she was travelling abroad for a termination against her will.

The man and woman sat side by side at the back of the court during the brief hearing. Ms Justice Mary Laffoy struck out the case. "I hope things work out for both sides," the judge added.

The couple, in their 20s, have been living in Ireland. No order was made for costs.

Pro-life campaign groups later confirmed they had supported the couple during the case. Representatives from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and Precious Life revealed they are willing to foot the legal bill for the proceedings and offer other financial help if needed.

Bernadette Smith of Belfast-based Precious Life claimed the man made contact with its counselling service through the Citizens Advice Bureau in Northern Ireland.

"There were very happy in their relationship and the involvement of parents caused some problems," said Ms Smith, who handed the woman rosary beads outside the courtroom.

"They were both very happy with the pregnancy, there were no issues there. The couple were not planning to abort the baby. It was important the decision they had both made was protected."

Press Association

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