Review of fatal foetal abnormality case yet to begin, Dáil hears

Tóibín claims woman who had pregnancy terminated denied input into review process

 Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said it was a ‘heartbreaking situation’ where a  healthy baby was aborted under the Government’s legislation. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said it was a ‘heartbreaking situation’ where a healthy baby was aborted under the Government’s legislation. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

An independent review of the circumstances of a termination carried out for reasons of fatal foetal abnormality, where a test later showed no abnormality was present has not yet commenced, the Dáil has heard.

Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín said the family involved “have had no input into the composition of the panel or the terms of reference”.

The review of the case was announced earlier this year. Mr Tóibín claimed “the Government is refusing the family the opportunity to input into that process. Six months on, it is not good enough.”

The review is expected to be conducted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.

The case at the National Maternity Hospital involves a woman who was tested for a potential abnormality which could give rise to a fatal foetal abnormality.

The first sample showed signs of abnormality and the couple opted for a termination. A second sample which took longer to process came back normal.

Mr Tóibín, who has campaigned against abortion, said it was a “heartbreaking situation” and a “healthy baby was aborted under the Government’s legislation, under the section concerning life-limiting conditions and fatal foetal abnormalities”.

He said the Minister for Health Simon Harris met the couple in August.

Mr Tóibín claimed that in the meeting “the Minister acknowledged that the medical notes indicated that the legislation was breached and it was also accepted by officials that a case such as this could be a case for the Garda”.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl intervened and said he was “deeply uncomfortable about the raising of a specific matter of this nature which may be the subject of litigation or inquiry”.

Mr Tóibín said the family had asked him to raise the issue.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was also “reluctant to discuss in the chamber the medical history of any individual or anything of that nature”.

Mr Varadkar said “I do not have information on the medical history of any individual patient”.

The Ceann Comhairle said it would be more appropriate for Mr Tóibín to engage with the Minister for Health on the matter.