Two State agencies told of fears for woman in abortion case

Support group says Department of Justice and HSE were told of concerns

Concerns about the welfare of the young woman at the centre of the latest abortion controversy were raised with two State bodies by Spirasi

Concerns about the welfare of the young woman at the centre of the latest abortion controversy were raised with two State bodies by Spirasi

Mon, Aug 25, 2014, 01:00

Concerns about the welfare of the young woman at the centre of the latest abortion controversy were raised with two State bodies by Spirasi, a group that supports victims of torture, in June.

Its director Greg Straton confirmed yesterday that the organisation had written to the HSE and the Department of Justice in connection with her case in early June. Mr Straton said the letters had said that the young woman had shown a strong will to take her own life.

He said Spirasi immediately made contact with the HSE and the Department of Justice after the woman had been referred to its services and been examined by one of its doctors.

Last week it emerged concerns for the psychological welfare of the young woman at the centre of the case were also brought to the HSE at the end of May, two months earlier than had been previously reported.It was not until July that the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 came into play in her case when she attended a GP and was then referred to a psychiatrist.

Details of terms

The HSE on Friday announced details of the terms of reference for a review of her care.

The woman says she was pregnant as a result of rape before she came to the country and first asked for an abortion when she was eight weeks and four days pregnant, at the beginning of April. She was referred to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) for counselling. When told that the cost of travelling for an abortion could be as high as €1,500 at an IFPA counselling session in late May, she said she would rather die than continue with the pregnancy. It is understood she was then referred to a HSE staff member.

Her pregnancy was delivered by Caesarean section earlier this month, at 25 weeks gestation. She was suicidal and says she had been refused a termination under the new abortion legislation.

Investigation

Meanwhile Gardaí have confirmed that a file has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to an investigation of practices at crisis pregnancy clinics, including the advice given at some of them.

The Garda investigation follows an undercover investigation by pro-life groups who sent supporters into clinics posing as women with crisis pregnancies in 2012. The investigation was carried out by Store Street Garda station.

Labour party sources have indicated party leader Joan Burton will support efforts to widen the grounds for abortion when it comes to the drafting of the next Labour party manifesto.

A party source said Ms Burton’s views on the need to repeal the eighth amendment were no secret. However, many issues would have to be teased out before it could become part of the party manifesto.