Monday, May 07, 2007

Deirdre De Barra's Letter In The Irish Times on the Abortion Case and Miss D.



Madam, - I think the HSE's interference with Miss D's right to travel to terminate her pregnancy, which is incompatible with life, is easily resolved by the State allowing her to be treated in Ireland.
My view is based on the position advanced by Ireland before the European Court of Human Rights in my case in 2005.
The State argued that an Irish court would not apply Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution "with remorseless logic" in an exceptional, compelling and tragic case like mine, where a woman is pregnant with a severely disabled foetus.
Miss D's case is equally exceptional, tragic and compelling. In my case the Government argued that I should have exhausted all legal remedies open to me in Ireland.
The European Court considered that I had an arguable case with sufficient prospects of success to have sought an interpretative judgment in Ireland.
I am deeply concerned that this very young woman, who has had to come to terms with a devastating antenatal diagnosis, is now undergoing court proceedings because of the inflexible position adopted by the HSE, which is responsible for protecting her best interests.
But I believe the courts should now answer the question of whether she is entitled to a lawful abortion in Ireland.
From my own experience, I know how distressing it is for a woman in her situation to have to travel to a foreign hospital where she does not know anybody, and undergo an induced labour without the support of her local hospital, doctors and family.
This is uncivilised. I hope that all political parties during their various election manifestos will use the opportunity to take a humanitarian stand on this issue. -
Yours, etc,
D DE BARRA, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

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