Woman at centre of Ireland's abortion case speaks of suicide attempt

The unknown woman had been raped in her home country before arriving in Ireland and suffering "injustice"

Natasha Culzac
Tuesday 19 August 2014 17:49 BST

The young woman at the centre of an abortion debate in Ireland has spoken of her ordeal at being denied a termination despite attempting to take her own life while 16 weeks pregnant.

In an interview with The Irish Times, the unnamed woman said that she had been raped in her own country before arriving in Ireland and seeking help from a counsellor.

She was told that travelling to the UK for an abortion could cost €1,500 (£1,200), but being unable to afford it, she decided to take her own life so as not to have to bear the child of her rapist. She was, however, disturbed during the attempt.

“In my culture it is a great shame to be pregnant if not married,” the migrant woman said - her former country of residence is unknown.

She was admitted to hospital at 24 weeks after displaying suicidal thoughts, but was told the foetus was too developed, so began a thirst and hunger strike.

There was then some confusion after three experts concluded that she was suicidal. It was reportedly agreed that she could have an abortion – a decision that was later retracted by the authorities leading to child being induced at 25 weeks.

“They said the pregnancy was too far. It was going to have to be a Caesarean section... They said, wherever you go in the world, the United States, anywhere, at this point it has to be a Caesarean,” she said.

“When I came to this country I thought I could forget suffering... The [C-section] scar will never go away. It will always be a reminder.

“I still suffer. I don’t know if what has happened to me is normal. I just wanted justice to be done. For me, this is injustice.”

Hers has become a case that has tested Ireland’s recent Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act, legislation that had been brought in to further clarify the law and which states that abortions are allowed in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, including that of suicide, following rape or incest.

The child is now in the care of the authorities.

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