Woman’s Death From Botched Legal Abortion Death a Warning for Ireland

International   |   Nora Sullivan   |   Jul 24, 2013   |   10:13AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

While the Irish government is currently on the precipice of legalizing abortion, shocking and tragic news has come out this week that a 32-year-old mother from Ireland died following an abortion procedure in London in January of 2012.

The woman, whose name has not been revealed, had travelled from Ireland to England for the purpose of obtaining an abortion. The Irish Times reports that the woman, a foreign national living in Ireland, had requested an abortion at a Dublin maternity hospital but was told that it could not be performed in that jurisdiction.

Twenty weeks into her pregnancy, the woman obtained an abortion at a Marie Stopes abortion facility in London.  Several hours later, she died in a taxi of a heart attack caused by extensive blood loss.  She was rushed to Wrexham Park Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Abortion advocates have jumped on this case as an example of why abortion is necessary in Ireland.  Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Sarah McCarthy has said that the woman should have been given “appropriate” medical treatment in Ireland and should not have been forced to travel to the UK.

However other critics say that this tragedy demonstrates that there is nothing safe about legalized abortion.  “This woman died following a so-called ‘safe legal’ abortion carried out in a licensed abortion clinic run by Marie Stopes International, which also provides referral services in Ireland,” Ireland’s Life Institute’s Niamh Ui Bhriain stated.

According to the Irish Times, the woman’s husband has said that she did suffer from uterine fibroids – a condition that in some cases can in increase the risk of miscarriage, although it is not in any way life threatening.

In a sad and quirky twist of fate, it seems that the woman may have been much better off had she stayed in Ireland and entrusted herself and her baby to the care of Irish doctors.  A recently released study demonstrates that mothers and babies in Ireland are safer there and receive better care than they would in the neighboring United Kingdom, in spite, or maybe because, of the fact that abortion is currently illegal in the Republic of Ireland.

The new study, which compares 40 years of maternal and neonatal data from Great Britain (where abortion has been largely legal since 1967) to data from both Northern Ireland and Ireland (where abortion is currently illegal), found that mothers and babies in Ireland are statistically better off than their British counterparts.  The maternal mortality rate in Ireland is half that of the UK – despite the insistence of some authorities that the prohibition of induced abortion contributes to higher rates of maternal mortality.



As the Irish government faces the very real and very serious prospect of legalizing abortion, it should remember that abortion carries significant medical risk.  This case makes it clear that not all the victims are voiceless and defenseless children.  Women are exploited as well.  In this instance it was a foreign national living in Ireland.  A few months ago in the United States, it was Jennifer McKenna Morbelli.  One year ago, it was Tonya Reeves. When it comes to abortion, legality and safety are not synonyms.

LifeNews Note: Nora Sullivan writes for the Lozier Institute.