Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion is being used to deny women choice in their maternity care, a campaign group has claimed.
The Association for the Improvement in the Maternity Services Ireland, issued a statement yesterday welcoming the removal of life-support to a woman who was declared clinically dead on December 3.
The woman, who was 15 weeks pregnant, was buried last Monday. Her family had requested privacy when they paid their last respects to the young mother of two.
The association said the case was a “particularly macabre episode” of an invocation of the 8th amendment of the Constitution.
The amendment acknowledges the equal right to life of the mother and the unborn and guarantees “as far as practicable” that both will be defended.
AIMS co-chairwoman Krysia Lynch said the case highlighted the control the State presumes to have over women’s bodies in the area of maternity care.
“The Constitution is supposed to maintain the right to bodily autonomy in life and, one hopes, also in death. This does not appear to have happened in this case,” said Ms Lynch.
“It is a medical fact that a foetus of 15 weeks is not viable and we fail to see what possible reasons there could have been for medics to invoke the 8th amendment and put the woman’s family, especially her children, through such distress.
“The natural course of events is that when a woman dies in such circumstances, the foetus she is carrying dies with her. All of us at AIMS were just heartbroken for the woman’s children because they saw their mum in a state that was not their mum in the end.
“Our main issue with the 8th amendment is that it denies choice across the board, not just the choice as to whether or not to maintain a pregnancy.
“The women we represent have actively chosen to be pregnant and are looking forward to giving birth,” said Ms Lynch.
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