Monday 23 April 2018

Timeline of events

THE asylum seeker's case as set out by sources familiar with the case:

* January and February: The woman is raped in her home country, in a crime which is part of a conflict, which also sees members of her family killed.

* February and March: The woman and others arrive in Ireland and seek asylum. She is put in a direct provision centre.

The woman discovers she is pregnant during a medical assessment by a public health nurse. This screening is standard for all new asylum seekers entering direct provision.

The woman, who does not speak English, seeks an abortion and is referred to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) by the public health nurse who assessed her.

Now around eight weeks pregnant, she attends the IFPA, where she receives information on abortion services and travel, along with details of the visas required to leave and re-enter Ireland. She attends a women's health facility for a scan to ascertain how many weeks pregnant she is. The scan confirms she is eight weeks and four days. She continues to receive support from the IFPA with a view to travelling abroad for an abortion.

* May: Now some 14 weeks pregnant, the acutely distressed teenager learns that it could cost more than €1,500 to travel overseas for an abortion.

The IFPA rings the public health nurse who initially referred the teen to the non-statutory agency to alert them of concerns over her heightened mental health issues.

This is the last engagement the IFPA has with the teen.

* Late June/early July: The woman moves to another location. She comes into contact with a person from her country who assists her.

* Week beginning July 21: The woman is advised to see a GP. The GP refers her for assessment under the Protection of Life In Pregnancy Act, 2013, as he deemed her to be suicidal.

* Week beginning July 28: The woman is assessed by a panel of experts. The two psychiatrists deem her to have suicidal thoughts. The consultant obstetrician says it is too late to abort the foetus and determines the baby can be born by caesarean section. There is a delay in the baby being delivered to ensure it would survive as the woman was only 25 weeks pregnant. The woman is treated with steroids to increase the baby's lung functions. The woman goes on hunger strike and thirst strike.

* August 2: The HSE goes to court to get a care order allowing her to be hydrated.

* August 5: The HSE returns to court with a care plan. During a short hearing, the woman's legal team say she has agreed to the baby being born.

* August 6 and 7: The baby is delivered by caesarean section. Being born after 25 weeks means the baby is in considerable distress.

* Now: The baby is still in an incubator and is expected to be taken into state care. The woman has been discharged from hospital and is in HSE care in a medical facility.

Irish Independent

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