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Fitzgerald vows tomonitor law after latest abortion case

MINISTER for Justice Francis Fitzgerald said that the Government will monitor the abortion legislation in place in light of the latest refusal for a victim of rape.

A suicidal young woman had a baby delivered by caesarean section after a panel of experts, convened under the country's new laws, decided not to permit an abortion.

A week after the young woman first presented, she was informed she was to be refused an abortion.

STARVING

She then went on a hunger and thirst strike and the Health Service Executive (HSE) went to the High Court to get a care order to prevent her from 
starving herself.

However, after initially refusing to have the baby delivered, the woman ultimately consented to the birth and the baby was delivered.

Ms Fitzgerald said that she is "concerned" for the mother and baby involved, and said that the Government will continue to monitor the law.

"I would be concerned, and people reading the accounts would be concerned, for the mother and for the baby," she said.

"Clearly we passed legislation earlier this year and we will continue to monitor this situation and see how it is implemented."

The National Women's Council of Ireland's head of outreach said that the decision not to grant the woman a right to termination was flawed.

"No civilised society can stand over a law which sees a woman lose her bodily autonomy once pregnant," they said.

Choice Ireland has called for a demonstration in protest at the treatment of the woman this Wednesday at 6pm.

The eighth amendment, also known as article 40.3.3, gives equal constitutional right to the life of a mother and her unborn child. It has been the subject of contentious debate and was criticised by a UN watchdog for its affect on human rights.

Legal expert and former 
doctor Simon Mills said the woman may have been afforded a termination prior to the enactment of the new laws.

This is because the woman could have brought the case to a court of law instead of being 
assessed by a three-person panel.

Emotional

Mr Mills described the case as "a very fraught, emotional tale".

Both the child - who was born at 25 weeks - and the woman at the centre of the case are continuing to receive care from the State. It's expected that the child will be taken into the care of the HSE.

hnews@herald.ie


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