Tuesday 24 April 2018

Eighth Amendment helped to save my daughter's life - mother who was told her daughter was unlikely to survive

Sinéad McBreen and little Grace (3)
Sinéad McBreen and little Grace (3)
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

A mother who was told she was likely to suffer a miscarriage credits the Eighth Amendment with saving her daughter.

Sinéad McBreen, from Knockbride, Co Cavan, said a number of rare complications three years ago led doctors to advise her that her daughter Grace was unlikely to make it through pregnancy.

She said if she had been given the advice in a country with more liberal abortion laws she would have felt a greater expectation to terminate the pregnancy. However, she continued to term and said Grace was eventually born "kicking and screaming".

Ms McBreen, a nurse and mother of five, was three months pregnant when she went for a check-up and was told about a number of complications. Further checks showed Grace had cystic hygroma and hydrops, conditions that led to too much fluid in her body and swelling in Grace's neck and around her organs.

"They told me the fluid around her organs would put them under serious pressure and it would eventually cause her heartbeat to stop," Ms McBreen said.

Grace was born in November 2014. She lives with Down syndrome but is a happy, healthy three-year-old, said her mother.

"They told us the pregnancy should not progress past 20 weeks. It became very negative. They don't ever say it is a fatal foetal abnormality because that is not a medical term," said Ms McBreen, who added she did not believe the baby would not survive.

"I know if I lived in a country where abortion was freely available, in a situation where I got the news that I got about Grace, the expectation would have been there for us to terminate. I think that expectation is creeping in here and that would have led to me not having my daughter today. I am grateful that she was protected."

A spokeswoman for the HSE said it does not comment on individual cases.

Irish Independent

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