Irish minister says hospitals must follow new abortion legislation

Two consultants diagnosed a baby with a fatal birth defect, yet the hospital refused to perform an abortion, leading to a national debate on the implementation of the country's new abortion regulations.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team NewsMavens, Europe
Irish minister says hospitals must follow new abortion legislation - NewsMavens
Pregnant woman, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

At her 13-week USG a woman in Ireland was informed that her baby was suffering from a fatal birth defect. The diagnosis  was confirmed by two medical consultant. Yet when her case was presented to the Coombe Hospital board for final approval for the termination procedure, the hospital board overturned the decision and refused the procedure, stating that she should wait longer in the possibility that a miscarriage could occur naturally.

She presented her situation to two Irish parliamentary ministers, TDs Bríd Smith of People Before Profit and Ruth Coppinger of Solidarity, and they addressed the issue in a recent session.

Coppinger stated, "the board of the Coombe Hospital is refusing her constitutional right that we all voted for to have an abortion at a time she chooses."

The woman now plans to travel to England to secure an abortion. Ironically, this is the same journey undertaken by thousands of Irish women who were seeking a procedure that was previously illegal in Ireland. Yet, all of this is taking place in direct contradiction to the results of the referendum in May 2018 and recent approval by the Irish Dail, which enabled women to seek safe and legal abortions.

The deputy head of government (Tánaiste) Simon Coveney said: "The law in this area is now clear, that legislation was passed in a way that was consistent with what the Government committed to doing before the referendum last year and it's what people voted for. So hospitals in Ireland have an obligation to make decisions in a way that is consistent with that new legislation."

Details from the story:

  • At her 12-week scan and they could clearly see at that point that the organs of the fetus were outside of the body.
  • A second USG confirmed this diagnosis.
  • Both the woman's doctor and a second consultant declared that the abnormalities were fatal.
  • Although abortion has received broad social support in Ireland, protest at the procedure is still active.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at