Mother Gave Birth in Field After Abortion
by Breandán Morley Irish Independent 30/11/06
A woman, pregnant and under huge financial pressure, told an inquest how she paid for an illegal abortion and gave birth to her full-term son in a field.
The Lithuanian woman (26) said the baby was not breathing and was blue, and that she held him in her arms for a long time.
An autopsy was unable to determine if the infant of around 36 weeks gestation, had been born alive. The baby's remains were found in a disused farm shed at Ballybrittas, near Kildalkey, Co Meath on May 2nd, by a builder who had taken shelter from heavy rain.
An appeal by gardaí for the mother to come forward eventually led to the Lithuanian woman living in the nearby town of Athboy and working as a barmaid.
Recalling the day she drove out to Kildalkey, the woman who has a child in national school said: 'I held the baby in my arms. It was a boy. He was not breathing, his eyes were closed. I was crying as I held the baby. I touched his face, which was light blue. His nose was cold. I wiped his face clean with my shirt. I was looking at him and holding him for a long time. I was in pain. I don't remember what happened next'.
The woman was present at the inquest in Navan last Thursday, accompanied by an interpreter. Through her solicitor, she did not dispute the verdict of the inquest- that the baby had died 'of undetermined causes, following a self-induced miscarriage'. The jury had been dismissed by the coroner, John Lacy, before the case was heard.
The petite Lithuanian previously admitted to gardaí she was in a desperate financial situation when she realised she was pregnant. Her partner- whom she refused to name- put pressure on her not to have the baby.
She was expected to send money home to her parents in Lithuania and then a brother arrived who could not find a job. She had to support him as well and was working two jobs to make ends meet. Then her partner left. 'Everything went into one- it all happened in a short space. I was in shock. If not, I would have kept the baby'.
She asked around among her female friends to see if any of them knew how she could procure an abortion and was put in touch with a man who spoke Russian.
He visited her at her place of work early in January. The cost of the abortion was to be €500 to €800, depending on how much medication was required. The woman said she had to sign 'legal papers' promising she would never speak about the abortion to anybody, including her family, and absolving this person of all responsibility if things went wrong. Medication was duly provided and the next day she began to bleed.
Gardaí said a file had been sent to the DPP(Director of Public Prosecutions), who declined to press charges.