Irish Teen Decides Against Abortion of Disabled Baby – Credits Pro-life Websites for Change

By Hilary White

  DUBLIN, May 15, 2007 ( – The teenaged mother of an anencephalic child, known in the press as “Miss D,” has told the Irish Independent that she has changed her mind about aborting her baby. She said today, “I feel this is just a normal human being, I want it to have its own (burial) plot.”

  A week after winning a court decision allowing her to travel to Britain for an abortion, the pregnant mother has announced that she will give birth by medical inducement of labour and intends to bring the body of her child home for burial.

  She explained. “I’ll bury my child here. I have clothes bought for my baby. I’ll be pregnant next year”. In an interview, Miss D said she will always see the baby as her first child and has chosen the name of the baby. She said that she will buy doll’s clothes for the child’s burial.

  The news media emphasized repeatedly that an anencephalic child can live only a short time outside the womb. Miss D has responded, “I think most people think that I must be very silly and that this baby is not much. But this baby means the world to me.”

  Miss D credits pro-life websites for her change of heart. “There were pictures of babies who had been aborted,” she said. “I didn’t want that, my baby deserved to live, it deserved more than that.”

  When a test showed that her child suffered anencephaly, a condition in which the brain does not fully develop, Miss D had resolved to abort. Although Ireland has constitutional protections for the unborn, precedents have been set in the past for minors under the care of the Health Services Executive (HSE) to travel to Britain for abortions. In England, abortion for “severely disabled” children has no legal time limit.

  The HSE tried to prevent the girl from leaving the country to abort her child, but Mr. Justice Liam McKechnie ruled “firmly and unequivocally” that there was no law or constitutional impediment preventing her travelling to England. After the decision, the HSE issued a statement apologising to Miss D for trying to prevent her from aborting her child and offered to pay the costs of travel.

“The HSE regrets any distress arising for Miss D and her family. The matters at issue were not straightforward or simple in ascertaining this girl’s best interests. The HSE will continue to offer Miss D all the care and support which it is in a position to make available.”

  The HSE now announces that its senior managers will be meeting with state solicitors and senior gardai (police) officials to discuss changes in the organisation’s statutory powers in the light of the Miss D. decision.

  Read previous coverage:
  High Court Rules Irish Teenager may go to Britain to Abort Anencephalic Child

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