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No suicides relating to pregnancy in 60 years

A REVIEW of maternal deaths, spanning 60 years in the country's main maternity hospitals, has found no recorded case of a woman taking her own life because she was pregnant, writes Eilish O'Regan.

The review was led by Mater Hospital psychiatrist Professor Patricia Casey, who said every death from 1950 to 2011 was examined.

During those decades, five women, who were pregnant or had given birth, were recorded as committing suicide but these were linked to mental illness.

The study involved examining the reports of the masters of Holles Street, the Rotunda and Coombe hospitals and involved more than one million women.

Prof Casey said: "It is important to note that in the context of the present debate, the records cover a period that begins almost 20 years before the liberalisation of the British abortion laws in 1967.

"This makes it much harder to claim that suicidal pregnant women in the first part of the period under examination were going to Britain for abortions. It demonstrates that suicide in pregnancy is extremely rare," she added.

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