Editorial Sunday Tribune May 6th 2007.
ANYBODY reading the traumatic submission by Miss D, the 17-year-old seeking to travel to England for an abortion because the foetus she is carrying is severely brain-damaged, can only feel disgust at the treatment of this girl by the HSE.
All this week, legal experts have been analysing the contradictions in our law; the medical experts have been explaining what anencephaly means and balancing the risks to the life of the mother and the foetus; and the public have been encouraged to "phone or text" to share their advice or similar experiences. Every minute of it, every line written, sympathetic or not, has been a sickening invasion of this girl's privacy. In making this criticism, we take our own share of the blame.
But the engine for this steamroller was started by the HSE social worker who went so far as to call a garda superintendent to alert him that a "crime" might be committed if Miss D, perfectly reasonably, left the country to have an abortion.
This was a hideous step too far. It prompted her need to go to court, with all the attendant publicity, to argue for her right to travel.
Miss D has had to summon a legal team, prepare an affadavit, talk to psychiatrists. She has had to sit in a courtroom packed with five sets of legal teams and journalists, her every move watched and reported on, her relationship with her boyfrend described, her relationship with her mother anlaysed. She has had to leave the courtroom while detailed textbook descriptions of the medical condition the foetus she is carrying suffers from are described in terms no doctor would ever use when talking to a patient.
We have had four decades of this insanity over abortion. We still have no abortion law. Enda Kenny says he will not introduce an abortion law if elected taoiseach. Shame on him, shame on every cowardly politician who has allowed this to happen.