Monday 26 June 2017

It is sadly inevitable that further tragic cases will end up in the High Court

In the end, the medical evidence made the decision fairly straightforward.
In the end, the medical evidence made the decision fairly straightforward.

Dr Conor O’Mahony

Yesterday’s High Court ruling that a clinically brain dead pregnant woman did not have to be kept on life support to sustain her unborn child was unquestionably correct.

The medical evidence unanimously indicated that the chances of survival for the unborn were almost non-existent. In such circumstances, it made no sense to subject the mother and her family to up to 18 weeks of unspeakable torment. The terms of our Constitution do not contemplate medical interventions of this sort.

When news of the case first broke last week, it seemed like the court would be called upon to exercise the wisdom of Solomon. The mother had a constitutional right to die a natural death, without having her life artificially prolonged; but the unborn child had a constitutional right to life. How could those two rights be reconciled, and on what basis could priority be given to either?

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