Michelle Harte Photo by: Irish Times

Terminally ill woman refused abortion in Cork hospital


Michelle Harte Photo by: Irish Times

A woman who was terminally ill with cancer was refused an abortion at Cork University hospital and had to travel to Britain to have the procedure.

Michelle Harte (39) from Wexford told The Irish Times that doctors at Cork University Hospital advised her for medical reasons to terminate her pregnancy but then refused to carry out the procedure.

A previous Irish court judgement had allowed such a procedure where the mother’s life was in danger. However the  ethics committee refused to allow an abortion because they claimed no “immediate threat”.

“I couldn’t believe the decision [to refuse an abortion in Ireland] when it came,” she said.

“Apparently, my life wasn’t at immediate risk. It just seemed absolutely ridiculous.”

She travelled to Britain for the abortion during the summer.

“She was very unwell,” said her partner, Neil Doolan (28) from Wexford. “She was very stressed out, physically very weak, nauseous and vomiting.”

Shortly after she came back her condition worsened. “The delay in having an abortion could well have made my condition worse. It certainly didn’t help,” she said.

“I would hate to see others going through this. It’s so tough when you’re not well to feel like you’re being judged for something which should be a simple procedure.”


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