Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Even in the Four Courts, Tormentors Won't Let Her Be

Dearbhail McDonald The Irish Independent Tuesday May 8th.

AS if she wasn't under enough pressure. Pregnant, at 17, with a baby that has no prospects of survival.
Nappies bought and everything, Miss D, desperate to terminate her pregnancy, now finds herself at the epicentre of an intractable legal and moral war over her right to travel to England for an abortion.
By her own admission, the teenager has endured a tough upbringing.
After all, it was a failed overdose attempt, a cry to attract her mother's attention, that resulted in the doomed discovery that she was pregnant with a non-viable foetus. And being placed in the care of the State.
And the High Court battle she has waged to secure her right to travel abroad for a termination is already taking a physical toll, resulting in a day-long absence from court due to illness.
Yesterday morning Miss D returned to a 100-strong pro-choice protest outside Dublin's Four Courts.
But even the strongest warning from High Court Judge Liam McKechnie that the media cannot identify Miss D has failed to protect her from her tormentors, even within the safe and hallowed confines of the High Court.
In addition to the phalanx of lawyers and media present, so too is there a presence of pro-life and pro-choice campaigners.
And yesterday, both were keen to press their advantage with the vulnerable Miss D.
During the morning hearing, as Miss D rose to go to the bathroom, a male pro-life activist swooped on her mother, known as Miss A, and attempted to pass correspondence, including a newspaper article.
Miss D's mother attempted to quickly hide it from her daughter's view. The transaction did not go unnoticed and appalled those sitting in the vicinity of the young girl and her family.
Not to be outdone, the pro-choice movement also made direct contact with the girl during the afternoon, sitting as she strained to hear lawyers arguing her case.
Two female protesters, in their mid-twenties, entered the court and sat behind Miss D and her boyfriend.
After writing a letter, indicating their support for her predicament, they also submitted a rain-soaked petition of names and phone numbers they had received from members of the public.
Miss D weakly smiled at the two women after reading the petition and letter of support.
Mission accomplished, the two pro-choice campaigners triumphantly left court.
No court order, it seems, can place Miss D beyond the reach of those who wish to pursue her as she endures her horrific ordeal.

1 comment:

Paul B. said...

This is an interesting item, thanks for posting it. The pro-choice campaign needs to make sure that in their desire to make their point its supporters do not ape the rude and aggressive tactics often used by the more extreme anti-abortion activists. Such tactics only serve to alienate the moderate majority whose support we need to retain.

As the Dearbhail McDonald pointed out the last thing Miss D needs now is to be hounded by the campaigners on either side of the debate, and if we wish the anti-abortionists to leave her alone we need to be willing to do the same. We cannot have one rule for them and another for ourselves.