Ireland Teenager Wins Legal Fight to Travel to Britain for Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Ireland Teenager Wins Legal Fight to Travel to Britain for Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 9
, 2007

Dublin, Ireland ( — A pregnant 17 year-old in Ireland who has been waging a legal battle to travel from the pro-life nation to Britain to have an abortion won her fight in court on Wednesday. Known as Miss D in court records, the teenager is pregnant with a baby who has anencephaly, a condition where the baby’s brain and skull will not properly form.

After doctors told her that her baby would not survive any longer than three days, Miss D told a social worker that she could not carry the baby for nine months knowing the child will die.

The Irish Health Service Executive place the 18-week pregnant teen in adoptive custody and said that abortions were not allowed for cases of physical disabilities.

The agency worked with police and the country’s passport office to prohibit Miss D from traveling to England.

However, Miss D sued and the court ruled that she can travel to England as long as she gets permission from her mother and a judge. It said there is "no statutory or constitutional impediment" to prohibit her traveling.

Just prior to the decision, the health service dropped its objections and said it would no longer try to prevent Miss D from going to the UK for the abortion.

Attorney James Connolly, who represented the interests of the baby in the case before the court, said the nation’s Constitution did not allow the court to measure quality or duration of life when deciding whether an unborn child’s right to life should be protected.

Connolly said the State could not facilitate someone going abroad for an abortion if there was no real or substantial risk to their life.
But he acknowledged there did not appear to be any law to stop someone in the position of Miss D from ignoring her care order and traveling.

Statistics show that about 7,000 women travel annually from Ireland to England for abortions.