There’s a very serious and interesting appeal case going on in Ireland at the moment. A girl, Miss D, who is age 17, wants to travel to England for an abortion, but is being prohibited from doing so by the courts. Abortion is still illegal in the Republic of Ireland unless there is a risk to the life of the mother, but many women travel to England or Wales each year to have terminations, and they do so legally.
The current case involves a a young girl who is in the care of the Health Service Executive, and who is carrying a foetus which, apparently, will not be able to survive outside the womb. Logic would suggest that this is an open and shut case – what is the point, after all, in continuing with the pregnancy? – but not so in Catholic Ireland. The elements of her case are threefold:
1. She is challenging the court order placing her in care, because it restricts her leaving the country.
2. She is challenging the Health Service Executive’s decision instructing the gardaí (police) to stop her leaving the country.
3. She is challenging the Health Service Executive’s decision to refuse to let her travel to terminate the pregnancy unless there’s a risk she’ll commit suicide.
I understand that the main impediment to her termination is simply that she’s in care and that the Health Service Executive has been granted a court order against her travelling for an abortion. In any other circumstances, she would have been allowed to go without question; it seems that the Health Service Executive is really just trying to protect itself by stopping her. As if she doesn’t have enough to contend with…
The case has gripped all of Ireland, unsurprisingly, and could have many political ramifications because the Taoiseach (prime minister) recently called for a general election. I’m not sure that the abortion laws will ever change in Ireland, but it’s high time they were revisited. Perhaps now they will be.
In any case, the appeal is being heard tomorrow, and I’ll be keeping a keen eye. And, as it happens, I’m going to be in Ireland so I’ll be able to hear a lot more about it than I would here. Naturally, Irish pro-lifers are protesting the appeal with all their might, but I’m hopeful they’ll make little difference. And, unless I just haven’t noticed, the Church is being suspiciously quiet on this.
I’m vehemently pro-choice in case you hadn’t noticed. In fact, I don’t even stop at ‘pro-choice’: I’m say I’m pro-abortion and be done with it. Because I am.
[Edit: Thankfully, it seems that she’ll win her appeal. I hope so]