Wexford woman with heart condition says she was refused a termination

A young mother with a health condition that meant her pregnancy posed a risk to her life has teamed up with Amnesty International to call for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum.

Claire Malone from Wexford has pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary atresia and had her lung removed in 2014.

When she became pregnant last summer she says she asked for and was refused a termination.

The 30-year-old was unable to travel due to ill-health, and her medical records could not be shared with clinicians in the UK if she did travel for an abortion.

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty Ireland, left, with Claire Malone at a press conference this morning. Photo: Amnesty International.

Claire says she wanted a termination for the sake of her two boys, whose father died two years ago.

"I was forced into a corner where I was told, without the words being used, 'you're going to be pregnant, whether you like it or not'. I didn't have any say in that.

Even though I was there crying and falling apart and worried that my kids were going to be left without any parents, I didn't have a voice.

"Everyone was deciding for me what was going to happen. I was just this incubator that needed to get on with it, effectively. That needs to change."

Claire says her life expectancy has been shortened by the experience and she will probably not live to see her three children become adults.

"My health, which was already poor, has been shattered by this experience. I know that my life has been shortened, and I know that I won’t live to see my now three children safely to adulthood."

Pro-life group Save the 8th, however, argues that Claire's story is proof that the 8th amendment saves lives.

"This story is a perfect example of how the 8th amendment, and the brilliance of Irish doctors, save lives," the group said.

"The Yes campaign regards it as a failure of Irish medicine that both Ms Malone, and her baby, are alive today.

Save the 8th regards it as a success of Irish medicine that her condition was successfully managed, and that she and her child are safe today.

"That is one of the fundamental and most basic differences between our two campaigns."

Digital Desk

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