Saturday 21 April 2018

Journey to UK 'prolonged mum's agony' of losing baby to fatal abnormality

Aine O’Neill and her husband Rick and their dog out for a walk in Galway
Aine O’Neill and her husband Rick and their dog out for a walk in Galway
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A heartbroken mum who went to the UK for an abortion after her baby was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality has said being forced to travel "prolonged the agony" of having to end her pregnancy.

Aine O'Neill (30), from Ardrahan, Co Galway, was 12 weeks' pregnant in July of this year, when she learned her baby had anencephaly. She opted to have an abortion in the UK to end the pregnancy. "I felt so uncomfortable I felt like I was faking being pregnant. I didn't feel like myself any more," she said.

Aine and her husband organised an abortion in a private clinic in Manchester where she has family.

"Every step was just so hard and having no family would have made it so much worse. We just needed to be at home. I felt like we should have been admitted to the hospital to do what we wanted to do in Co Galway at home where we had all of our support systems," she added.

In the clinic on the day Aine had her abortion, she and her husband were separated into different waiting rooms which added to the stress of the day.

"I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. I was just waiting and I didn't want to be there, it didn't make any sense," she said.


"It was like whatever grief I was feeling before I left was completely overshadowed by being traumatised because I wasn't been looked after.

"It was just horrible coming back home and not being pregnant any more. It [travelling] just prolonged the agony of the whole situation . . . and it's wrong, it's just so wrong," she said.

"I was in the wrong place for what was happening to us but I had no where else to go.

"There was women there flipping through magazines - which is the way it should be in those places - it just wasn't where I should have been.

"It just kept going around in my head that Mick Wallace had brought that bill to the Dáil and that figure kept going around in my head of 95 people in the Dáil who think I should have to do this. Or else they think I should have to carry the child to term.

"That would have been so traumatic. Anyone who has to go through that is just amazingly strong because there is no way I would have been able to continue day in, day out with the pregnancy. It would have been even more horrific," she said.

Aine will travel to Dublin today with friends and family to join the March for Choice to call for a repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

Irish Independent

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