Mary Carolan The Irish Times Thursday May 10th 2007
Miss D has shown courage, integrity and maturity in dealing with her very distressing plight and by not claiming to be suicidal when such a claim would have meant she could, "without fuss", have travelled for an abortion, the High Court was told.
Mr Justice McKechnie said she had got devastating news on her 17th birthday about the health of the baby she was carrying when she had a scan she was 16 weeks pregnant. She had decided she wished to travel for an abortion and told the HSE. She had shown sound moral judgment when she could have stayed mute and travelled or could have committed perjury by claiming she had suicidal tendencies.
She did none of that and that was to her credit, the judge said. Miss D was determined to seek a resolution and she had shown courage and determination.
His decision that she was free to travel to Britain for an abortion was not, the judge stressed, the end of Miss D's ordeal. She would now have to make arrangements, book a cheap flight or take the boat, to travel for a termination. That in itself would only be an end to a certain part of her ordeal. She would have to deal with other matters afterwards.
Referring to an incident at the family home between Miss D and her mother, which led to Miss D going to hospital and to the granting last February of an interim care order in relation to her, Mr Justice McKechnie said it would be unfair to speculate on what that incident might have been.
He said Miss D was blameless. If matters continued as they were now, a recurrence of that incident was most unlikely, he said. Miss D's mother had supported her daughter's decision on termination and had been with her in court. Her father had been absent from her life and was not involved in this case.
Mr Justice McKechnie said anencephaly was a condition that was, without exception, fatal. There was unanimous evidence the baby could not live. This "tragic foetus" was destined to die and all the love and care was not going to change that, he said.