Saturday 20 October 2018

Harrowing ordeal nearly destroyed me, says teenager

Miss D and her boyfriend: the teenager has returned from Britain where she had a medically induced abortion
Miss D and her boyfriend: the teenager has returned from Britain where she had a medically induced abortion
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

THE pregnant teenage girl at the centre of the Miss D abortion controversy has returned home to Ireland after undergoing a harrowing five-day ordeal.

Miss D, who is 17 and from the Leinster area, is back in Ireland with her boyfriend and mother after undergoing the procedure in a British clinic.

The traumatised teenager did not want to discuss details of the procedure.

But she welcomed the results of an Irish Independent poll which showed that two thirds of voters favour abortion in cases where the foetus would not survive.

She hopes it will finally help her to close the door on the saga which sparked a traumatic two-week High Court wrangle over her right to travel, an experience she said almost "destroyed" her.

"I am very happy that people feel that way," said Miss D, who gave birth to her unborn infant last week.

"It [the induced labour] was very emotional, but I feel I have got closure now."

Owing to the increasing sophistication of techniques of antenatal diagnosis, termination of pregnancy for foetal abnormality has become frequent but is illegal in Ireland.

Because of Miss D's aversion to surgical abortion, including vacuum, dilation and extraction procedures, she opted for a medically induced abortion which some mothers feel is akin to a natural miscarriage rather than a termination.

During medically induced abortions, typically granted to women in later stages of pregnancy, drugs are administered to render the foetus non viable and induce delivery through the vagina.

The administration of drugs softens and dilates a woman's cervix; triggers uterine contractions and makes the uterus ready for labour.

It can take anywhere from about a day to three-to-four weeks from the time a woman takes the first medication until the medical abortion iscompleted, but most women successfully abort in this manner within a week.

Following induced labour, parents can spend time with their unborn babies; have them baptised, take photos and obtain prints of their babies hands and feet.

Induced labour relieves the mother of the psychological trauma of having to carry a non-viable foetus throughout the full term of her pregnancy and to avoid any risks to maternal health that a non-viable pregnancy may pose.

Women may also feel that a medical abortion, also known as a chemical abortion, is a more private and non-invasive way to end a pregnancy.

Prior to her departure, Miss D told the Irish Independent that she was looking forward to having the inducement so she could hold her baby in her arms and say goodbye.

The young woman, who was praised by High Court judge Liam McKechnie for her "courage, integrity and maturity", now plans to bury her child in Ireland.

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