A pregnant woman in Ireland was forced to make an awful choice: carry her fetus, which had fatal fetal abnormalities, to term and have it die, or leave the country if she decided to abort the pregnancy.
The choice is the product of Ireland’s ban on abortions, a paradoxically conservative legal policy in comparison to its legalization of same-sex marriages last year.
The woman is Amanda Mellet of Dublin, and the United Nations has stepped in after the news of her decision broke, asking Ireland to change its policy to allow abortion and allow for doctors to give medical information and assistance to women “without fearing being subjected to criminal sanctions.”
Mellet has instated a group dedicated to rallying for the legalization of abortion. Mellet found out that her baby has developmental defects that would cause it to either die in the womb or die shortly after it the birth when she was 21 weeks pregnant .
The UN stated that Mellet was put in an awful situation, having to choose between continuing the pregnancy that would ultimately result in death, or carry the dying fetus to another country in order to safe, and legally, abort the baby. The UN pointed out that she was “at personal expense and separated from the support of her family” and would have to come back to Ireland without being fully healed.
She chose to get the abortion in England, and she joins the list of many other women and girls who have chosen to do the same. The British Department of Health reports that in 2015 more 3,400 Irish females traveled to England and Wales for abortion services.
The UN’s call for abortion rights in Ireland not only highlights the medical setbacks for the countries, putting women in positions where they would be more tempted to have an illegal or unsafe abortion or having a child with an illness or inevitable death. It also highlights the often unreported emotional aspects of having to make this choice for a woman. It is stressful, emotional exhausting, and at times financially unfeasible.
In 2012, a woman named Savita Halappanavar died after doctors in Ireland would not abort the woman’s fetus as she was suffering a miscarriage. The medical decision sparked outrage across the world.
Irish doctors would not give Halappanavar an abortion because they said “this is a Catholic country,” and the law is that abortions cannot be performed while there is a fetal heartbeat.
Mellet’s story should be enough of a signal that Ireland’s dedication to its religious beliefs and the right to life are in dire need of separation.
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