Child sectioned amidst abortion request

Child sectioned amidst abortion request

Irish girl sectioned as deemed as ‘suicide risk’ for requesting abortion

A new report has revealed that an Irish girl was detained under the Mental Health Act for suicide risk and self-harm reasons after she asked for an abortion last year.

The child and her mother thought she was being transferred to a Dublin hospital for an abortion but was detained at a psychiatric unit.

Her case is one of 22 covered in a report published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project on Monday. An order was made to section the girl after a psychiatrist felt she “was at risk of self harm and suicide as a result of the pregnancy” and “termination of the pregnancy was not the solution”.

She was later discharged after being assessed by a second psychiatrist who noted that while the girl presented as being depressed there was no evidence of a psychological disorder.

The report says: “That consultant psychiatrist was of the opinion that the young girl presented as being depressed, however, there was no evidence of a psychological disorder and she was dealing with her depression well.”

“The judge was satisfied on the evidence before her that the young girl did not suffer from a mental health disorder in accordance with the Mental Health Act 2001 and discharged the Order detaining the young girl.”

New Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had this to say on the topic:

Abortion is illegal in Ireland and only allowed if it can be shown that the life of the mother is at risk. A 1983 referendum set the rights of the unborn child as having equal weight as that of the mother.

However, the battle has continued over the last thirty years, coming to a head in the past number of years due to high profile cases. One such case was Savita Halappanavar who died of complications in 2012 after she was denied an abortion, despite knowing her unborn baby would not survive outside of the womb.

The public outrage following this case, in particular, lead to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act which allowed for a mother’s right to an abortion when her own life was at risk. Coming into force on January 1, 2014, it does not appear that the Act was invoked in this case, despite her having been deemed suicidal as a result of the pregnancy by the first psychiatrist.

In April, a Citizen’s Assembly voted to give the Oireachtas a mandate to legislate on the issue of abortion, recommending unrestricted access to abortion in Ireland by 64% vote.


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