Family to Ireland: Let 'Dead' Pregnant Woman Die

Family wants her off life support, doctors are wary of making that move
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2014 2:20 PM CST
Family to Ireland: Let 'Dead' Pregnant Woman Die
A Saturday, July 6, 2013 file photo showing thousands of anti-abortion protesters filling Dublin's major thoroughfare.   (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik, File)

An Irish constitutional amendment protects fetuses from inception—they're considered Irish citizens—but the case of a brain-dead pregnant woman is putting that to the test. The parents of the unnamed twentysomething, who the Guardian reports sustained head trauma, want to turn her life support off. But though she's clinically dead, the mother of two is roughly 17 weeks pregnant, reports the Irish Independent (it describes her as having suffered a "catastrophic internal injury as a result of a blood clot"). As such, doctors have been unwilling to comply with the family's wishes. The Guardian reports the doctors involved are getting legal advice, and an expert on Irish medical law tells the AP the Dublin High Court will most likely make a determination; the case is scheduled for Tuesday.

This case follows a highly publicized one from August involving a woman who was denied an abortion and was ultimately forced to have a Caesarean section. The 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act allows for abortions in certain cases—such as the case of a suicidal woman impregnated by rape, which was reportedly the girl's situation. Known as "Y", the teen demanded an abortion at eight weeks, and said she was suicidal, but a medical panel turned her down. When she threatened a hunger strike, health authorities obtained court approval to have her baby delivered prematurely at 25 weeks. The Guardian reports she's now suing Ireland. (More Ireland stories.)

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