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Dublin: 1°C Friday 23 April 2021

A couple are live-tweeting their trip to the UK for an abortion due to a fatal foetal abnormality

They say that their child has been diagnosed with Edwards syndrome, which could mean their child will only live for minutes or hours.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

AN IRISH COUPLE are today live-tweeting their journey to the UK to procure an abortion due to a fatal foetal abnormality.

The couple, tweeting under the name @itstimetorepeal, are travelling to Liverpool today.

In a post published last week, they wrote that they would undertake the journey today to have a termination.

They say that their child has been diagnosed with Edwards syndrome, which could mean their child will only live for minutes or hours.

“This is not by choice. Three months ago after many attempts we were over joyed at the discovery we were successful.

Our first child was born with a genetic condition that meant we spent many months in hospital and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Although there is a risk any future children may carry the same condition we decided it was a risk worth taking.

At our first prenatal screening we were offered a genetic screening test. Although it does not screen for the condition that affects our first child, it will for others that may inhibit the baby’s chance of survival. Of course we agreed to a simple blood test, after all the heart beat now visible was strong and all markers pointed to a healthy pregnancy. Then we got the call that nothing can prepare you for.

A fatal foetal abnormality was discovered. We had never heard of Edwards syndrome before but we were told that even if carried to full term the period of life would be counted in minutes and hours after birth. It is a crushing sentence for any person to hear let alone for my wife who has had to give up her career to become a full time carer for our little boy.

We went back for more tests and got confirmation. We should be telling our friends and relatives about our joyous news at just over twelve weeks instead we are now past the point of being able to go to a hospital in the UK so we had to make arrangements to visit a clinic.

Traumatic in its own right we also have to get someone to mind our child who requires constant monitoring throughout the day or his condition can cause him to slip into a coma and his brain can basically shut down. A lot of responsibility for us, even more putting it on someone else’s shoulders.

“What should be a simple procedure that could be carried out 20 minutes from home in a risk free environment we are being forced to travel to the UK, leaving our child behind and the risks that involves to do the most humane thing possible to a baby that will never survive. That’s why we’re going to document our experience from start to finish.

We hope that this may enlighten those who do not want to listen or even allow the people of this country to decide for themselves. Our government has continually kicked the can down the road and we the people must decide if we can allow this to happen. We hope that by documenting our experience may help those that may have been through something similar of may be unfortunate enough to do so in the future.

During the summer, an Irish woman live-tweeted her journey to the UK for an abortion. She aimed her tweets at Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Asked about the case today, Health Minister Simon Harris said that the Citizens’ Assembly was examining the issue of abortion, but called the current constitutional situation as “unacceptable”.

“In relation to my own view as Minister for Health, it greatly saddens and frustrates me that women and their partners find themselves in this situation.”

However, Harris said the issue could only be solved by a referendum.

In 2015, the year for which the most recent figures are available, 3,451 women and girls in Ireland, or just over nine a day, travelled to the UK to access abortion services.

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