A pregnant woman who has been declared clinically dead is being kept alive at a hospital in Ireland, against her parents' wishes. 

The Irish Independent reported last night that a pregnant woman who has been declared clinically brain dead is being kept on life support in hopes of bringing her fetus to term.

Although no statement has been made by the woman’s family, the hospital or the HSE, Independent.ie reported that the woman suffered a fatal internal injury over two weeks ago and the fetus has been kept alive ever since then. The woman is at the beginning of her second trimester. Her parents are said to be exploring a legal challenge to have her taken off life support.

The reason the woman is being kept alive is because doctors are unsure what their legal standing is due to uncertainty surrounding Ireland's restrictive abortion laws and the 8th amendment to the Irish Constitution, which enshrines the equal rights between mother and unborn child.

The news comes as politicians are debating a bill to repeal the 8th amendment in the Dáil this week, which was introduced by independent TD Clare Daly. This week Irish Minister for Health Leo Varadkar called existing abortion laws in Ireland “too restrictive”.

This is just one of the numerous controversies about abortion that has rocked the current Irish government. The now infamous 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland sparked outrage across the country and led to resurgent calls to repeal the 8th amendment.

Termination of pregnancy under strict criteria was introduced with the 2013 'Protection of Life During Pregnancy' bill, published following rulings in various cases taken against the state years earlier – known as the ABC case and the X case. The bill was published under intense criticism from both pro-life and pro-choice groups and in 2014. The controversy rumbled on, including revelations in August that a pregnant, suicidal non-Irish citizen living in Ireland was forced to deliver her child through Caesarean section as a from of termination.

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