Case of woman on life support highlights inhumane abortion laws

— This woman is not a vessel —

The reality of Ireland’s unjust and inhumane abortion laws have once again been made painfully clear by the case involving a pregnant woman who was pronounced clinically dead but is being kept alive in order to continue the pregnancy, against the wishes of members of her family.

The family of this woman are being denied the opportunity to bury and mourn their daughter, and she herself is denied any dignity in death. Our laws facilitate this monstrous treatment. Women are not vessels.

As politicians debate Clare Daly’s Bill to repeal the 8th Amendment, this case highlights the implications of the Amendment’s placing of equal value on the life of a pregnant person and that of the foetus developing in their womb. Healthcare professionals are unsure as to whether they can legally grant relatives’ wishes to turn off the life-support machine.

According to media reports, the woman at the centre of this new controversy is in the early stage of the second trimester of pregnancy. If the wishes of relatives are not granted this could mean 20 weeks or more on life support.

The appalling treatment of Ms Y earlier this year made it abundantly clear that our laws are flawed and unworkable, yet our Government wring their hands. It is said that hard cases make bad laws, but we see in Ireland that bad laws make for hard cases.

The Abortion Rights Campaign calls for a resolution in accordance with the wishes of the family, so that they can begin the process of mourning their daughter.