Woman forced by 'violent and abusive' Irish husband to have abortion overseas, High Court hears
A 30-year-old Mauritian woman who became pregnant after marrying an Irishman was forced by her “violent and abusive” husband to have the baby aborted in a Manchester clinic, the High Court was told Friday.
Barrister Shannon Michael Haynes told the court the woman, who cannot be identified, was now under threat of deportation and was seeking leave to challenge the legality of a decision of the Minister for Justice refusing her permission to remain in Ireland.
Mr Haynes, who appeared with Una O’Brien of Sinnott Solicitors, said the woman left her husband and obtained a divorce because of his abusive behaviour which had led to a breakdown of their marriage. Gardai twice had to be called to their home because of his violence towards her.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott heard that the woman came to Ireland on a tourist visa in 2009 before obtaining a study visa. Her status changed to that of a spouse of an Irish citizen following her marriage several years ago when she was granted “Stamp 4” conditions of residency.
Mr Haynes said the husband quickly became abusive and particularly when his wife became pregnant. He had put extreme pressure on her to terminate the pregnancy.
“He had arranged everything from the flight ticket to the clinic procedure because I wanted to keep my baby and had categorically refused to have an abortion,” the woman told Judge McDermott in a sworn statement.
The woman told the court her having an abortion was something she found difficult to talk about and was deeply ashamed of it to the present day.
She said her husband had continued to be hostile about it and threatened to end their relationship and have her immigration status cancelled. Her father in law was also abusive to her and often called her “a black bitch.”
Mr Haynes told the court that following her abortion her mental health suffered and the marriage was dissolved. She returned to Mauritius to recover with the help of her family and came back to Ireland later through Northern Ireland.
While in Ireland she sought to renew her visa which was refused and had failed in an appeal against the decision. She had met and was in a happy relationship with a new partner in Ireland.
Mr Haynes said that on July 26th last the General Immigration Division had written to his client telling her the Minister for Justice and Law Reform proposed to make a deportation order against her on the basis she had no current permission to remain in the State and that her deportation would be conducive to the common good.
Following presentation of legal authorities and submissions by Mr Haynes the judge said he would grant the woman leave to judicially review the refusals and the Minister’s deportation proposal on which he placed a stay until the hearing of the judicial review in October.
The woman is seeking to quash the Minister’s refusal of her application for a change in her immigration status and his decision to deport her. She also seeks a declaration that it is unlawful to impose a requirement as to duration of joint residence on victims of domestic violence who were married to an Irish citizen.