An anti-abortion group has criticised alleged inconsistencies in the story of a Co Wexford woman who says she was told she could not terminate an unplanned pregnancy despite believing it could kill her.
Claire Malone (30) told The Irish Times on Friday that when she found out she was pregnant last summer she feared for her life due to having pulmonary hypertension.
The Save the 8th group said Ms Malone appeared to have "had a sudden and complete change of heart in relation to both her treatment and her pregnancy". It said the "change of heart appears to have occurred during a referendum campaign, at the same time" Ms Malone encountered The Irish Times and Amnesty International Ireland.
Ms Malone spoke at a press event hosted by Amnesty International Ireland on Friday, calling for the Yes vote in the May 25th referendum.
Save the 8th cites a blog written by Ms Malone while pregnant, in which she describes being “over the moon” about the pregnancy and hopeful it “goes smoothly as possible”.
Throughout the blog, Ms Malone describes too being “nervous”, concerned whether she should “terminate this pregnancy to save my own life” and of waiting for either herself or the baby “not to make it”.
‘At significant odds’
Save the 8th spokesman John McGuirk said Ms Malone's blog was "at significant odds" with her account published in The Irish Times on Friday. He said he "attributes no blame to Ms Malone for this confusion".
In response, Ms Malone said on Friday she took exception to being “accused of lying”.
"At the beginning, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. I wrote to the Abortion Support Network [ASN] in England that day asking about my options. I went to my GP the next day and asked if the pregnancy could kill me," she said on Friday.
Her email to the ASN, dated July 27th, 2017, and the GP referral letter to St Vincent's University Hospital, dated July 28th, 2017, have been seen by The Irish Times.
In a blog post dated August 6th, 2017, Ms Malone describes phoning her best friend when she found out she was pregnant. “I literally could hardly speak for sobbing . . . My major concern was did I need to terminate this pregnancy to save my own life.”
When the GP confirmed the pregnancy, she reacted: “No, no, no this isn’t good . . . I need to know if I continue with this will it kill me?” she writes.
On August 8th last, she describes her first scan showing “a good strong heartbeat . . . although all these positives are lifting our spirits we are still very much aware things could go wrong”.
On September 1st, after a scan, she writes: “I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and the emotional wreck that I was I had a little cry with overwhelming happiness.”
On October 24th, she writes on her blog about valuing her life. “It’s only when we face a permanent fear of losing these simplicities that we didn’t really give a second thought to before, we realise that more than anything we want to be here to experience them again.”
In a tweet, Mr McGuirk said: “Nobody has accused Claire Malone of lying. We have accused [The Irish Times] of not reporting her story fully, when she wrote about it contemporaneously while she was pregnant.”
Amnesty described the Save the 8th statement as “completely predictable”.
“They know that they cannot respond to the irrefutable evidence of the harm done to the health of pregnant women under the Eighth Amendment. As outlined by the experiences of Claire Malone, women are not allowed to terminate even high-risk pregnancies that pose a risk to their health.”