Asylum seeker refused abortion sues the State

Ms Y, the asylum seeker who unsuccessfully sought an abortion after arriving in Ireland pregnant as a result of an alleged rape, has launched a civil action for damages.

Asylum seeker refused abortion sues the State

Her action against the State includes a claim for alleged trespass, assault and battery; alleged negligence; and the alleged reckless and intentional infliction of emotional harm and suffering. It also includes a claim for alleged breach of duty; alleged false imprisonment and alleged unlawful deprivation of liberty.

The woman further claims there was alleged unjustified intentional negligent infringement of and wrongful interference with or failure to vindicate her constitutional rights and her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

The case was before the High Court yesterday when Mr Justice Kevin Cross made an order under the Refugee Act prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would or be likely to identifty the woman. The judge also allowed the woman to maintain the proceedings under the pseudonym Ms Y from Dublin.

The application for anonymity which was made under the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was not opposed by any of the State defendants, but Counsel for the Attorney General pointed out the provisions of the Refugee Act which the judge said in effect strengthened the woman’s application.

In his judgement Mr Justice Cross referred to an affidavit by the woman’s solicitor which grounded the application and stated Ms Y came to this country in 2014. She became suicidal when she discovered she was pregnant and said she had been kidnapped and raped in her country of origin.

She sought the termination of her pregnancy. Medical procedures were performed under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and a baby was delivered by caesarean section.

Mr Justice Cross said he fully accepted that if the woman were identified the identification would indeed cause undue stress to her but he was not happy that there was evidence to support the contention she would necessarily qualify under the section of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

However, the judge said he did not have to adjudicate on the proper interpretation of that Act as the woman was a person who has sought and been granted asylum from the State. The judge said under the Refugee Act there is an obligation on the State to take all practical steps to ensure the identity of the woman is kept confidential and he granted the order for anonymity under that Act.

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