Inappropriate for Dáil to discuss pregnancy termination review case - Taoiseach

TD calls for Government to introduce abortion guidelines for diagnostic tests

Leo Varadkar: “These are personal, private and confidential matters and it is not appropriate for us to discuss them in this Chamber.”

Leo Varadkar: “These are personal, private and confidential matters and it is not appropriate for us to discuss them in this Chamber.”

 

It is inappropriate for the Dáil to discuss the case of a National Maternity Hospital patient whose pregnancy was terminated following a test result suggesting a fatal foetal anomaly, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín had called for the Government to introduce abortion guidelines for diagnostic tests following the case. Mr Tóibín said there were no national guidelines for doctors in this area.

Clinical guidelines are normally drawn up by doctors and their professional bodies, the Taoiseach said, adding “these are personal, private and confidential matters and it is not appropriate for us to discuss them in this Chamber”.

Mr Tóibín expressed his sympathies to the parents “of the unborn child whose life was ended in the National Maternity Hospital as a result of a reported misdiagnosis and the alleged failure of the hospital to wait for the results of a diagnostic test”.

He said it was reported that doctors recommended an abortion “unprompted by the child’s parents and that the couple were told that there was no need to wait for a final test”.

The Meath TD added: “It was further reported that there was no specific genetic involvement at the time of the abortion decision and that the couple were not told clearly that the child was healthy after the third set of results came in, but, rather, worked this out themselves from information they received.”

Mr Tóibín said the organisation Every Life Matters unsuccessfully sought a meeting with the Minister for Health on this issue before the abortion legislation was passed and he and others had warned that this could happen but “the Government refused to take that into consideration”.

Mr Varadkar said his heart went out to the couple but he said these matters were deeply personal, should be confidential, and he would not discuss them but he would ask the Minister for Health to follow up with Mr Tóibín.

He pointed out that an independent review of the case would be undertaken.

“Clinical guidelines are normally drawn up by doctors and their professional bodies,” he added.