Oh boy, here we go.
AG tells court girl has right to travel for abortion
Mary Carolan, Dr Muiris Houston and Carl O’Brien
The State does not have any power to stop a teenage girl travelling to the UK for an abortion, the High Court was told yesterday by counsel for the Attorney General.
The 17-year-old, who is four months pregnant, is challenging the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) decision to prevent her from terminating her pregnancy abroad.
The teenager, who can only be identified as “Miss D” and is from the Leinster region, has been in the care of the HSE since February of this year. She was told last week that her baby was suffering from anencephaly, a condition where a major part of the brain is missing. The newborn baby will not survive outside the womb for more than a few days.
Mr Justice Liam McKechnie yesterday granted the girl leave to bring a legal action to prevent the HSE restraining her leaving the country for an abortion. The case is being rushed through the courts and it will be heard in full tomorrow.
The girl says she was told by the HSE that it contacted gardaÃ to request that she should not be permitted to leave the State unless she was suicidal.
However, Donal O’Donnell SC, for the State, said the Attorney General’s position was that the HSE had no legal power to direct the Garda to restrain a person who was the subject of an interim care order.
Furthermore, the Garda did not have legal power to restrain the girl simply because she was the subject of a care order, while the HSE order did not restrain a person from travelling anywhere.
Gerry Durcan SC, for the HSE, said it was anxious to take whatever course of action best secured the girl’s welfare, having regard to legal restraints where a child is subject to a care order.
The HSE also wished to have the teenager assessed by a psychiatrist, counsel added.
Gerard Hogan SC, for Miss D, said his client was deeply distressed and could not live through the pregnancy knowing her baby would die, but he stressed she was not suicidal.
Abortion is illegal in Ireland, except where there is a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother. This includes a risk arising from the threat of suicide.
In her affidavit, the girl said her family circumstances had been strained because her mother was an alcoholic. Her father had never sought any involvement with her. Her boyfriend had agreed to bring the proceedings on her behalf as she is a minor.
Meanwhile, The Irish Times has learned that the HSE has funded the cost of an abortion in the UK for a woman whose baby had serious congenital abnormalities that were incompatible with life outside the womb.
It is understood approximately six other abortions for women in similar circumstances have been funded by the HSE in the last year.
The woman, who was four months pregnant, was referred by a gynaecologist here to a colleague in Britain using an E112 form. This is an EU procedure whereby a patient’s consultant states that the person has a particular diagnosis and needs a specific procedure or treatment not available in the person’s own country. The HSE then assesses the application and decides whether to fund the treatment or not.
It is understood that the woman, who is in her mid- to late 20s, travelled to Liverpool and had her pregnancy terminated. She has returned home and is said to be well.
A GP who was involved in the woman’s care said: “Having immediate first-hand experience of the patient . . . I think there is a contradiction between the current case, where the HSE is attempting to prevent a 17-year-old travelling, and its approach in the case I was involved with, where the HSE funded a patient to have an abortion.”
A spokesman for the HSE said it did not comment in individual cases.
Â© 2007 The Irish Times
The fact that they have funded any at lot is going to set certainly people foaming at the mouth
and the country in the midst of an elction.
Which I have to say has a damn short campagaining time.
I wonder if bertie and the boys knew the court schedule was to be like
Surely the Minster for Justice would have people watching what is pending, esp after they were
caught short with the contesting of the statutory rape laws.
I can see the meeting now where they realise oh shit that is due in court and the mahon tribulan is moving on quick dash to the park and get the election on now before things get worse.
The fact is that after the last refenda on abortion in this country and the right to travel there should have been legistaion but implace and policy and proceedure for all state and semistate bodies. Should have….. the same way the UN charter of rights for children should have been adopted and legisture drawn up and the same again when the statutroy rape laws for minors was struck out.
Coulda, woulda , shoulda, DIDN’T.
It seems to me that the HSE did not want to send someone over to accompany the teen and to sign the papers. They will throw money atthe issue to kept thier hand clean and keep the issue out of the country rather then tackle it, but then again that would be the current goverment policy trickling down.
Will this country grow up in the next 20 years to treat reproductive rights as just that rights ?
A woman can still not pay to have a tubal ligiation preformed in this country under the age of 25.
Over the age of 25 if she has 4 children or over the age of 35 if she has two children, but a 21 year old can not decide to have a tubal ligation ( which can be reversed if she wishes ) and pay for it privatly in thise country. In the Uk after she has undergone a screen process the NHS will pay for it.
As for young Miss D, she has been let down again and again by the state.
Why did it take so long for her to be put in care ?
Why was she never educated properly about sexual health and contraception ( an ounce of prevention is better then a pound of cure ) ?
Why is it that the cost of contraception is so prohibitive so many young people ?
and honestly I would hate to think that she considered having a child at 17 as a way out of home
and on to a housing list and as way for indepandace.
Her circumstances are certainly tragic and everyday makes her condition more complex and harder for her to recover from but fair play to her for allowing the case to be tried publically
( with the instructions she is nto to be identified ) as this case due to the fact she is a minor
and is in conflict with those standing in loco parentis could have been tried in camera.