Questions raised following refusal of abortion to suicidal non-national

Questions are being raised as to whether the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act needs to be amended, after a pregnant suicidal woman was refused an abortion under the new legislation.

It is understood the woman, who is not Irish, could not leave the country to have a termination, due to her legal status.

The woman, who is reported to have been raped, was assessed by a panel of three experts after she claimed she was suicidal, but the obstetrician said because the baby was at an advanced stage, it should be delivered.

The woman initially rejected this decision, and even went on hunger strike, but eventually agreed for the baby to be delivered by C Section.

Simon Mills, a barrister and former doctor, said this case highlights some insufficiencies in the new laws. "I think it highlights the particular difficulties faced by the impoverished and stateless," he said.

"We always operate on the blithe assumption that with cheap flights, with the availability of certain services on the NHS, that going to the UK is not a problem.

"But for somebody who is in effect stateless, leaving his jurisdiction to go to another … is not a runner."

"The second thing it highlights is, I think, whether or not the issue of rape needs to be revisited."

The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, said she could not comment on any individual cases.

"I would be concerned for the mother and her baby in the particular case that's been reported today," she then said. "We brought in legislation in line with our national and international obligations earlier this year, and we'll continue to monitor that."

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