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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Women and Ireland

HSE orders a report into care given to rape victim denied an abortion

The agency says it hopes the report will “end any inaccurate commentary surrounding this matter currently”.

Updated 10.55 pm

THE HSE HAS said that some of the commentary surrounding the case of a woman who underwent a Caesarean Section after being denied an abortion has been “inaccurate”.

It hopes that a report, due to be completed and published by the end of next month, will end such reporting.

In a statement this evening, the HSE said its Director General had requested a report to be completed that “establishes all of the facts surrounding the care given to a woman who had her pregnancy ended pursuant to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013″.

“Through the Report the Director General will seek to establish the full facts surrounding the matter, the sequence of events, the care given to the woman involved, the operation of the 2013 Act and any learnings that can be gleaned from the case,” it added.

The report will not look to review the decisions taken by the clinicians involved in the case. They had a specific statutory function as detailed in last year’s legislation.

The HSE said it will publish the report, subject to privacy restrictions.

It emerged on Friday that a team of doctors delivered a baby by Caesarean Section at between 24 and 26 weeks gestation as the mother was suicidal and on hunger strike.

Reports indicate that the woman, a young foreign national, says she was raped before arriving in Ireland but only found out she was pregnant while undergoing a medical exam while here. She says she requested information about abortion services when she was eight weeks pregnant.

Lobby group Doctors for Choice has come out this evening to say that the case demonstrates that last year’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act is “fatally flawed”.

They say that the reports of the case, which they acknowledge as uncertain, raise “very disturbing possibilities for the abuse of a vulnerable adult”.

“This case underlines the problems inherent in the legislation of balancing a woman’s rights with those of a foetus and threatening doctors with 14 years in prison for failing to do so,” argues Cork-based GP Dr Mary Favier.

“This is compounded by the requirement to use multiple doctors to certify eligibility and including an Obstetrician in certifying a risk of suicide.”

“If a young, rape victim, certified as requiring an abortion due to the risk of suicide cannot access abortion services then the legislation and its implementation are clearly fatally flawed,” she added.

- Additional reporting by Rónán Duffy

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

Opinion: A law that protects no one – the Eighth Amendment sees women as incubators

Explainer: What is the 8th Amendment?

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