Boyfriend drops his court bid over UK abortion

A man has withdrawn his High Court action aimed at stopping his pregnant girlfriend from travelling to Britain for an abortion.

The couple, who cannot be identified by order of the court, are both foreign nationals, aged in their 20s and resident in Ireland.

They sat beside each other and held hands during the short hearing, crying and hugging each other afterwards.

The man had claimed that his girlfriend, who is 20 weeks’ pregnant, was being forced against her will to undergo the procedure by her family.

He wanted the court to direct that a psychiatric assessment of the woman, to establish if she was acting of her own free will, be carried out.

Earlier this week, the man went to the High Court seeking an injunction preventing her from leaving Ireland after he discovered arrangements had been made for his girlfriend to have an abortion at a London clinic. It is understood she is not now going ahead with the termination.

Yesterday morning, when the matter returned before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, counsel for the man, Séamas Ó Tuathail SC, said his client wished to withdraw his case, and the matter could be struck out.

Counsel said the woman had sworn a statement in reply to the man’s claims.

While no details of the statement were revealed in open court, counsel said his client was “happy to put faith” in the statement and “matters would continue as at present in relation to the pregnancy”.

Afterwards it emerged that pro-life groups the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC); a Northern Irish pro-life group; and Precious Life, had supported the man in his legal action.

The case arose last Wednesday when the man sought a number of injunctions preventing his girlfriend from travelling to Britain to undergo an abortion. The man said he had no desire to restrain her from travelling should that be her freely held wish; however he alleged she was being forced to undergo the procedure by her family.

The court heard the couple have known each other for a year, but her family had not accepted their relationship. The man said his girlfriend’s family was deeply unhappy with the fact that she is in a relationship with someone of non-European origin.

In an affidavit to the court the man said his girlfriend “is happy to be pregnant” and “never expressed any desire to have an abortion”, but added that her family are of the view she will be “ruined” if she has a child with “a non-white man”.

He said she had registered with a hospital, was looking forward to having a cat scan in the near future, and went buying baby clothes.

They had moved in together, at a location away from her family, who also reside in Ireland. However, they were harassed by members of her family and in recent days she was forced by her family to leave the house they shared.

He also claimed that a member of his girlfriend’s family threatened to kill him if he attempted to go near his girlfriend.


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