Irish Independent Monday May 7th 2007
Special sitting to be told if HSE application successful
THE High Court will today hear if a teenage girl has been granted permission to travel to England for an abortion.
A special sitting of the court is taking place after the Health Service Executive made an application to the district court to allow the girl to leave the country.
The girl (17), who is in the HSE's care, is carrying a baby that stands no chance of survival outside the womb.
The HSE had originally moved to prevent her from leaving for a termination but did a u-turn last week and said it had no objection to her request to travel abroad. It applied to the district court for authorisation at a hearing on Saturday to allow the girl to leave the country.
Last week, lawyers for the Health Service Executive agreed it would be in the best interests of the girl to travel to England - on condition she received district court approval.
The HSE said it was willing to make an application to the district court to this effect.
It said that it would agree that her travelling for a termination was in her best interest if the judge was satisfied that she had considered her decision carefully.
The executive also said it was preferable that she had counselling first and that her mother also consented to the decision to travel.
Judge Liam McKechnie last week warned "time is running against us".
He convened a special sitting of the High Court on today's Bank Holiday to allow the case to proceed.
Miss D, who is four months pregnant, discovered that her 16-week-old foetus was suffering from the fatal brain condition anencephaly when she went for a scan.
The monitor showed that a large part of the baby's brain had failed to develop. Even if the baby survived birth, it would not live beyond three days.
After the teenager revealed her wish to terminate the pregnancy, the HSE said it could not legally allow her to go. She subsequently launched a High Court action to ask the State to restrain the HSE from preventing her travelling abroad for an abortion.
The Government's legal adviser, the Attorney-General said the State had no power to stop the pregnant girl from travelling.
Anne-Marie Walsh and Dearbhail McDonald