State offers €30,000 to woman denied an abortion in fatal foetal abnormality case

The State is offering €30,000 to a woman who was denied an abortion in a case of fatal foetal abnormality.

Earlier this year Amanda Mellet’s case was considered "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" by the UN’s Human Rights Committee.

It also ordered that compensation be paid to Ms Mellet, with €30,000 now being offered.

Health minister Simon Harris said he had asked his department to review the existing law around how information on overseas abortions is given to Irish patients.

Amnesty welcomed the Government’s agreement to provide compensation, and called for "prompt and meaningful action" on the remainder of the UN committee’s ruling concerning legal reform and abortion service provision.

"Ireland’s having promptly accepted this ruling is an important and commendable step," said Amnesty’s Colm O’Gorman (pictured).

"We hope that today’s outcome means that Ireland will finally and fully respect the human rights of women and girls. The true test of its commitment will lie in its scheduling of a referendum to allow the Irish people to vote on repealing the Eighth Amendment."

Background

In 2011, while more than 20 weeks pregnant, Amanda Mellet visited the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, where she was told the foetus she was carrying had a fatal foetal abnormality and would die in utero or shortly after birth.

A doctor and a midwife both told her she could carry the baby to term, or she could travel.

Ms Mellet went to the UK for an abortion, and returned home 12 hours after the procedure as she could not afford to stay longer.

The UN committee ruled that this was a fundamental breach of her human rights, saying it was "cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment".

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