Thursday 17 August 2017

North could show us way on dealing with fatal foetal abnormalities

Stock photo
Stock photo
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

In 2002 when I arrived on the steps of a Northern Ireland hospital and was met by a kindly nurse, 'lucky' was not the word that sprang to mind. In hindsight, I was fortunate. I was carrying a dead foetus and its twin, which would not survive outside the womb. Two other hospitals had confirmed the fatal foetal abnormality.

I was fortunate, because a year later, Northern Ireland passed a law forbidding termination for medical reasons - even for fatal foetal abnormality.

Though I had encountered inhuman and degrading treatment in the south, having been exiled to deal with the tragedy, I received compassionate care and consideration in Northern Ireland. The nursing staff sent me home with a tiny coffin, baby blankets and a set of footprints. In other words, the sad outcome was treated with dignity and respect.

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