TD tells Dáil that family at centre of NMH termination case believe illegal abortion was carried out

Peadar Tóibín

A couple whose baby was aborted at the National Maternity Hospital after it was wrongly diagnosed as having a fatal foetal abnormality have claimed that an "illegal abortion" was carried out, a TD has told the Dáil.

Last month RTE revealed that the couple were advised that their baby had a fatal foetal abnormality based on the results of two of three tests that were carried out.

Following the results of the third test, which were received following the abortion, it was found that there was no abnormality.

Speaking under Dail privilege today Peader Tóibín, TD, said that he had spoken with the legal representative for the family and that they were "furious that there will not be an independent investigation".

Mr Tóibín said the family are claiming an illegal abortion took place.

"They have stated that the medical practitioner that signed off on the abortion never examined the mother in question nor even met the mother in question in advance of the abortion," Mr Tóibín told the Dáil this afternoon.

If this is the case it is indeed contrary to the law and it is an illegal abortion.

Mr Tóibín added: "They are also shocked at the allegation that medical practitioners that sign off on the abortions have a commercial interest in the company that carried out the fatally insufficient tests in the first place."

Responding to the claims, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that he did not wish to comment on an individual case, "even one that is very sad" when there are legal proceedings underway.

Mr Varakar said he understood that Minister for Health Simon Harris expects an external inquiry into the case to be carried out.

Following the remarks made by Mr Tóibín, a statement was released this evening by the National Maternity Hospital.

The National Maternity Hospital said despite what was alleged by Mr Tóibín in the Dáil, the hospital was "actively engaged in commissioning an external review of this sensitive case".

It said that the family had been informed that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) had been requested to carry out an external review but were unable to do so.

The hospital said that it has since made "significant progress" in respect of membership of the review and the terms of reference and were hoping to be in a position to finalise them shortly.

"It was not the hospital’s intention to make any comment at this stage but we felt it necessary to respond to matters stated under parliamentary privilege which the Deputy suggests is an account given to him by a legal representative of the family."

The NMH said that it is not their intention to comment further pending the outcome of the review.

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