Thursday 18 January 2018

Nearly 100 had abortions on disability grounds

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

A SIGNIFICANT number of Irish women had abortions in the UK last year on the grounds their baby would suffer some form of disability.

The Irish Independent has learnt that 92 women from the Republic had abortions citing that the baby they were carrying would not survive or would be born with a physical or mental disability.

Of these, 16 of the women were beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks into their pregnancy and received a special exemption, health authorities confirmed.

There were 27 of these late abortions over 2010 and 2011 on the grounds the baby had a mental or physical disability.

A little-known section of the 1967 abortion legislation means that the upper limit of 24 weeks can be set aside and the baby can be terminated "up to birth" if tests indicate the child will have a disability when born.

The figures for abortions under the 'Ground E' clause come in the wake of the Dail rejecting calls to amend the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill and allow for terminations to take place in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities.

The Department of Health in the UK did not disclose the disability grounds put forward by the women from Ireland who had the terminations over the two years.

Irish Independent

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