On Saturday morning, life support of an Irish pregnant woman that has been declared brain-dead was withdrawn. Her family members have previously requested this from the doctors, but they were turned down for fear that the move would break the Irish law on abortions.
The woman who was in her late 20s had two more children. She got into a coma by a head injury in a fall that affected her brain. On December 3, she was declared brain-dead.
Earlier this week, the Irish High Court has ruled that the woman should be taken off life support, and her 18-week-old unborn child let to die. Three judges ruled that the child would face “a ‘perfect storm’ from which it has no realistic prospect of emerging alive. It has nothing but distress and death in prospect.”
In Ireland is very hard to get an abortion since the Eighth Amendment to its Constitution protects both the mother and the baby’s life. Abortion is legal if the pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life.
In this week ruling, seven doctors have testified that the baby had no chance of surviving two more months inside his mother womb and get safely delivered. The medics said that the brain-dead Irish pregnant woman’s body was slowly becoming a very dangerous place for the baby due to fungal growths, fever and infections that could cause the baby.
Earlier this month, doctors refused to terminate the pregnant woman’s life by turning off six life-sustaining machines because they feared they would get sued by the state for not protecting the unborn child’s life.
One of the doctors involved said that he and his colleagues weren’t able to figure out how they could apply Irish abortion law on this case, since there are no specific guidelines for brain-dead pregnant women.
Another doctor said that the hospital used on the brain-dead woman unauthorized drugs for pregnant women. He also said that the doctors were experimenting in a very “grotesque” manner.
“[It is wrong to deprive the woman] of dignity in death and subject her father, her partner and her young children to unimaginable distress in a futile exercise which commenced only because of fears held by treating medical specialists of potential legal consequences,”
the Irish judges said.
Irish doctors now urge the Irish government to issue more specific guidelines on when they could perform an abortion. The health minister said that he needed to study the ruling before commenting on it.
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