Monday, July 21, 2008

Girl, 14, in HSE Care Decides Against Abortion

Girl, 14, in HSE care decides against abortion

By Evelyn Ring Irish Examiner Monday July 21st 2008

A 14-YEAR-OLD pregnant girl in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) decided against an abortion just before the authority was due to ask the district court to allow her travel abroad for the procedure.
Her mother was believed to be absolutely opposed to her ending her pregnancy while her father, who lives abroad, supported her wish.

There were fears that the mother’s position would complicate and prolong the court hearing of an application due to be submitted by the HSE about two weeks ago.

The HSE decided to ask the district court to let the girl travel for the abortion following a psychiatric assessment of the teenager, who has a history of mild self-harm.

She had told both the HSE and her family that she wanted to have the pregnancy terminated as soon as possible.

She had also indicated earlier that she would seek to have the pregnancy ended on her own if she was not permitted to travel.

It is not known why the girl changed her mind. A HSE spokesperson said it did not comment on individual children in the care of the authority.

In 1997 the district court gave permission for a pregnant 13-year-old girl, who was at risk of suicide, to travel for an abortion.

The girl in that case, who was in the care of the then Eastern Health Board, became pregnant after being raped. The court decided she should travel for the termination while still the subject of a care order.

The girl’s parents, however, changed their minds about supporting her decision to end the pregnancy, and appealed the matter to the High Court.

The appeal judge, however, ruled that as the girl, known as Miss C, was likely to take her own life if forced to continue with the pregnancy, she was entitled to travel for an abortion.

The decision was based on the Supreme Court’s decision in the 1992 X case.

The X Case arose when the High Court granted an injunction preventing a pregnant 14-year-old rape victim from leaving Ireland to have an abortion in Britain. Two weeks later the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

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