FG councillor 'crushed' when she discovered her baby would not survive to full term

Councillor Vicki Casserly at her home in Lucan. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Cormac McQuinn

Vicki Casserly was left "crushed" when she got the tragic news that the baby she was carrying would not survive to full term.

Now, four years later, the Fine Gael councillor says her personal experience has framed her view on the upcoming abortion referendum.

She says she could have found herself among parents who decided to travel to Britain for a termination in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. She considers herself fortunate that it didn't come to that, in her case.

Ms Casserly believes the Eighth Amendment must be repealed so that women who find themselves in similar circumstances will be able to have an abortion here.

Allowing abortions in cases of fatal foetal abnormality is among measures in legislation being proposed by the Government should the 'Yes' side win the referendum.

Mother-of-two Ms Casserly revealed her experience online in response to a social media post from the Together for Yes campaign highlighting cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

She said it was "heartbreaking knowing the inevitable was to happen but legislation wasn't there to support my failing pregnancy and give me the access to the care I needed".

Ms Casserly first learned there was something wrong around six weeks into her pregnancy in 2014. The baby's heart wasn't developing as it should have been, and she said all the consultant could offer was frequent scans to monitor the situation.

Just under three months into the pregnancy, the baby's heart stopped beating and Ms Casserly suffered a miscarriage.

But she says that prior to that she and her husband did consider the possibility that they would need to travel for a termination.

There had been concerns for Ms Casserly's own health due to her rare blood type and a risk of haemorrhaging.

Ms Casserly's son has special needs and as his carer she said: "I wouldn't have been putting myself at risk for something I knew to be inevitable."

She also feared the distress of continuing with the pregnancy when the baby had no chance of survival.

"I certainly wouldn't like to see others in that situation," she said.

She has had another son since but still has the framed scans of the baby she lost.

She said she understands why opponents of a Yes vote want to save the Eighth Amendment, adding: "I value the sanctity of life."

But she said she also values choice - and she believes the Constitution should empower people to make the right choices for themselves.