With election mania about to take hold in the Republic, news of 17 year old Miss D, who is 4 months pregnant and seeking an abortion is very possibly the worst kind of news for any politician versed in the art of equivocation. With the facts of the case so simple, and yet so stark it will be very difficult not to be able to take a definite stand. This is possibly the reason that the case is streaking through the Courts at the moment, with a decision expected next week.
The law in Ireland on abortion remains unclear and cowardly. The Irish solution to an Irish problem is to export it, in much the same way excess adults were exported generation after generation. At present, abortion is legal if there is a clear risk of suicide on the part of the mother, but the abortion can not be carried out on Irish soil. Miss D appears to be taking a very brave stance by stating she is not suicidal, but she does not wish to carry to term a baby that will be born without a functioning brain, and who will die within hours or days of birth. Update The Attorney General has now decided that the Unborn Child in this case is entitled to legal representation tomorrow and senior counsel has been appointed. From the RTE report:
She said it had been made abundantly clear to her that unless she was considered a suicide risk she would not be given permission by the HSE to travel for the abortion. Miss D said she was not suicidal.
She said she believed she would be arrested if tried to leave the state. The teenager added it seemed inhumane to expect her to carry a baby to term in circumstances where it had been condemned to death once born. She said the life of the baby was not in question. The diagnosis of anencephaly and the life expectancy of the baby is not disputed by the HSE. She said she was shocked by the extent to which the HSE had chosen to ignore her wishes, and to treat her as if she had no right to personal autonomy. Miss D said the situation was wholly unacceptable and she could not believe that she was prevented from exercising rights that any other 17-year-old in the State would have to travel for a termination simply because she was in the care of the HSE.