Tuesday 17 January 2017

It's time to put a stop to the torture of women

We must get rid of the Eighth Amendment and show compassion to couples facing private tragedy, says Carol Hunt

Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30

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Just when we thought this country could not heap any more hurt, horror or torture, on to its women, we hear a tale that makes us weep anew. Last week, Irish parents Sarah and Michael (names changed) shared their story with journalist Ellen Coyne (The Times Irish edition).

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Early last year when Sarah was 12 weeks' pregnant with her third child, the couple discovered their unborn son had Edwards' syndrome (the majority of babies with this disorder die before birth).

Her husband Michael told Coyne that when Edwards' syndrome was confirmed they were "essentially taken from the [Irish] hospital and turfed out on the street… Sarah was leaving there a non-pregnant woman". Except she was still pregnant. And, according to Irish law, unless she could prove her life was at risk, she would continue to be so until she delivered (or miscarried) naturally. Like many others, Sarah would have to go to the UK for the medical attention denied to her here. Except that Sarah had seen her sister suffer a miscarriage and knew family support was vital. "I started panicking and thinking... I can't go to England and do this, delivering the dead baby," she told Coyne.

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