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Dublin: 18°C Wednesday 23 June 2021

Here's what the inquiry into the 'Ms Y' abortion case will look at

The inquiry will examine the operation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

A pro-choice protest that took place on Wednesday.
A pro-choice protest that took place on Wednesday.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE HSE’S REPORT into the case of a suicidal woman who was denied an abortion and gave birth by way of a caesarean section will be completed in the “shortest period possible”.

On Monday, the HSE’s director general ordered the report to establish all the facts surrounding the care the woman was given.

The terms of reference of the report were published this evening with the woman referred to as Ms Y.

They laid out that the report would seek to establish the “sequence of events as they relate to the care provided to Ms Y in relation to her pregnancy, her care and welfare to include her mental health”.

The report will also look at the operation of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act in this case.

It will examine communication between different services providers and if any service failings are found, the report is to identify the causes and contributory factors.

The case involves a young woman who says she was raped before arriving in Ireland. She discovered she was eight weeks pregnant while undergoing a medical exam here and sought an abortion.

A panel convened determined that she was suicidal, meaning a termination would be lawful, but the obstetrician in the case would not perform the termination because by this point the woman was 25 weeks pregnant.

The HSE’s report will cover the time period from when Ms Y “first had contact with HSE and related services or other agencies regarding her pregnancy until the time that her pregnancy was ended by caesarean section”.

The terms of reference published this evening also announced the four-person team who will undertake the report. They are:

  • Philip Crowley of the HSE’s Quality and Patient Safety Division.
  • Catriona Molloy of Patient Focus.
  • Independent consultant Alice O’Flynn (ex-HSE).
  • Mick Brophy, former investigator in the Office of the Ombudsman.

The HSE says that the report will be completed “in the shortest period possible provided unforeseen circumstances do not arise”.

Ms Y is also to be provided with HSE-funded legal representation during the preparation of the report and the HSE says that all efforts will be made the protect her anonymity.

The HSE says that if there are any disputes of facts established these will be reflected in the report.

Read: Minister believes there is no appetite for a referendum on abortion >

Opinion: Support for suicidal woman was complicated, not assisted, by abortion legislation >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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