Minister expresses concern for woman in abortion case

Reports claim young woman was refused termination of pregnancy by expert panel

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said she was concerned for the woman and the baby in the case. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said she was concerned for the woman and the baby in the case. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Sun, Aug 17, 2014, 15:48

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has declined to comment on reports that a woman who stated she was suicidal was refused an abortion by an expert panel.

Media reports say the woman sought a termination of her pregnancy under section 9 of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act (2013) on the grounds that she was suicidal.

It is reported that the woman was subsequently delivered of the baby by Caesarean section.

Speaking in Dublin, the Minister said she was obviously concerned for the woman and the baby at the centre of case.

“Well obviously I can’t comment, as you will appreciate, on individual cases. Obviously I would be concerned and people reading the accounts will be concerned for the woman and the baby involved,” she said.

“Clearly we passed legislation earlier in the year and will continue to monitor that legislation and see how it is being implemented.

“Clearly I really can’t comment on individual cases. We passed legislation in line with our international and national obligations and obviously we will continue to see how that legislation is being implemented. That is as much as I can say at the moment.”

The Minister appeared before the UN Human Rights Committee last month, where she answered questions about the State’s legislation on abortion.

Several committee members said the existing situation left Ireland in breach of international human rights by denying women who had been raped, who had a diagnosis of fatal foetal anomaly, and whose health was at risk, access to abortion in Ireland.

“It will require another constitutional referendum to capture all of the circumstances outlined by the committee,” Ms Fitzgerald told the committee.

Article 40.3.3, inserted into the Constitution in 1983, guarantees to vindicate, as far as is practicable, the equal right to life of the unborn and the pregnant girl or woman.