HSE Director General Orders Investigation Into State's Refusal To Grant Abortion To Rape Victim 7 years ago

HSE Director General Orders Investigation Into State's Refusal To Grant Abortion To Rape Victim

The HSE is to carry out an internal review into the circumstances surrounding a decision to deny an abortion to a rape victim.

The women is believed to have become pregnant as a result of a rape in her home country and discovered her condition after arriving in Ireland. She approached the State to inform them of her pregnancy at eight weeks, requesting a termination on the ground that she felt suicidal.

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It's understood the woman could not leave the country to access the procedure elsewhere and was assessed by a panel of three medical experts, including two psychiatrists and an obstetrician, under new legislation introduced following the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The legislation allows for abortion to be carried out in certain circumstances, including where a woman is suicidal as a result of the pregnancy.

While it was decided that she was at risk of suicide, the panel decided not to permit an abortion and the woman was forced to carry the foetus until it was viable and give birth by caesarian section.

The woman, described as "very vulnerable", went on hunger strike following the decision and the child has since been taken into State care and is being treated in hospital.

Doctors For Choice has since expressed its "shock and anger" at the case, branding it the "abuse of a traumatised and neglected woman".

"These questions raise very disturbing possibilities for the abuse of a vulnerable adult. There seem to have been reasonable grounds for the HSE to suspect that neglect of this young woman’s need to access an abortion would result in significant harm (suicide) as certified by two psychiatrists. Was this Neglect of a vulnerable adult investigated and what was done by the HSE to protect her?"