Ms Y may refuse to take part in abortion inquiry over report leak

Migrant had been raped before she came to Ireland and requested termination

Woman at the centre of the case became increasingly distressed as the pregnancy progressed and says she attempted to take her own life.

Woman at the centre of the case became increasingly distressed as the pregnancy progressed and says she attempted to take her own life.

 

The young woman who was raped, refused an abortion and later had her unborn infant delivered by Caesarean section, is “considering her position” as to whether she will now participate with an inquiry into her care here, following the circulation of a draft copy of the report.

The woman, known as Ms ‘Y’, has not received a copy of the draft report, which featured on RTÉ’s Prime Time programme on Monday night, despite having requested a copy through her solicitor last Friday.

She and her legal counsel believe the terms of reference of the report team have been breached.

Ms Y has yet to be interviewed by the report team, which was established over four weeks ago and was tasked with reporting back “in the shortest possible period”.

According to the RTÉ report, the draft concludes that in the period up to Ms Y’s admission to hospital, “agencies and services were constrained by existing legislation as it pertains to women in Ms Y’s situation”. The programme said the draft found an “overall lack of coordination... due to the number of agencies involved in the delivery of services...and to the fact that there are currently no agreed protocols in place for the sharing of information.”

Ms Y, an immigrant, arrived in the State at the end of March and found out she was pregnant soon after. She had been raped before she came here and immediately said she wanted an abortion.

She was referred to the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and informed of the costs of travelling for an abortion as well as the need for an exit and re-entry visa.

She seen by a doctor at Spirasi, an NGO which works with survivors of torture.

She became increasingly distressed as the pregnancy progressed and says she attempted to take her own life. She came to the attention of HSE psychiatric services at about 22 weeks’ gestation. She was assessed by three experts – two psychiatrists and an obstetrician – under the terms of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. They agreed she was suicidal. She was refused an abortion however and her baby was delivered by Caesarean section at about 26 weeks, last month.

The case reignited the abortion debate and the HSE established a team, chaired by Dr Philip Crowley, the HSE’s national director, Quality and Patient Safety Division, to establish what happened.

Ms Y’s solicitor, Caoimhe Haughey, was alerted to the existence of a draft copy of the report last Friday afternoon and wrote to the report team by email that day seeking a copy of it. By last night she still had not received a copy.

“Until the draft report has been received and considered by my client and her legal team a decision with regard to participation in the inquiry process must be deferred,” said Ms Haughey.

“It is clear from the terms of reference that the inquiry team are in breach of the terms of reference. It is stated clearly that the draft report will be subject to legal review and secondly that a copy of the report will be furnished to our client in the first instance on a strictly confidential basis before being released. This has not happened and this gives rise to concern about how the process is being handled.”

She also said there were concerns that there may be details in the draft that could identify Ms Y.