Wednesday 13 November 2019

Issue centres on whether woman is being forced by her family

Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

THEIR plight reads like a scene from 'Romeo and Juliet': a young pregnant woman whose lover tries to stop her travelling abroad for an abortion amid claims she is being forced to do so by her parents.

As the Seanad debate on the protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill continued apace, a young foreign couple – both in their 20s – sat side by side in the High Court.

Their drama began when the boyfriend asked the court to injunct her from travelling to the UK to terminate her pregnancy.

He claimed that she was being forced into it because her parents did not approve of her being in a relationship with a non-European.

The Attorney General was made a notice party to the action. But an X-style crisis was averted as Irish women are entitled to travel to access a legal service in another country and the boyfriend vowed not to stand in her way if she wanted to have an abortion.

The issue then is not one of abortion per se, but whether the young woman is being coerced.

The rights involved were of a private nature, the Attorney General's lawyer told the court, a phrase that will echo with many who are facing crisis pregnancy.

Irish Independent

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