National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Irish Woman Challenges Ban on Abortions for Fatal Fetal Abnormalities

Irish Woman Challenges Ban on Abortions for Fatal Fetal Abnormalities

November 15, 2013 — On Wednesday, an Irish woman whose fetus had a fatal abnormality filed a petition with the United Nations challenging Ireland's ban on abortion in cases such as hers, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. According to the AP/Journal-Constitution, the woman's petition is one of three that aims to pressure the predominately Catholic country to allow abortions in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/13).

Ireland earlier this year passed legislation that legalizes abortion only when a woman's life is in danger. The bill was spurred in part by the death of Savita Halappanavar in October 2012 after she was denied an abortion at an Irish hospital (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/31).

The current case involves a woman, Amanda Mellet, who learned in 2011 that her fetus had been diagnosed with Edwards' syndrome, a disease that causes fatal mutations in the heart and other organs. Mellet traveled to England to obtain an abortion after doctors told her she could not obtain the procedure in Ireland (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/13).

In her petition, Mellet asked the U.N. Committee on Human Rights to find that Ireland's abortion law violates the rights of women with pregnancies such as her own. Mellet is receiving legal support from the Center for Reproductive Rights and Terminations for Medical Reasons (United Press International, 11/14).