Dublin hospital denies claims woman was refused abortion

A Dublin hospital has denied a claim made in the Irish parliament that it “refused” a woman an abortion.

Irish Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger told Dail Eireann on Thursday that a woman carrying a baby diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality had been denied a termination at the Coombe Hospital.

It comes two weeks after abortion became legal in Ireland.

Ms Coppinger told the Dail: “I have been contacted by a woman who has a fatal foetal abnormality that has been certified by two consultants – and now it appears that the board of the Coombe Hospital is refusing her constitutional right, which we all voted for, to have an abortion at a time she chooses.

“Instead they have told her that she must wait another four weeks to see if there is a spontaneous miscarriage.”

Ruth Coppinger
Ruth Coppinger

Ms Coppinger said the woman is considering travelling to Great Britain to get an abortion.

Speaker Sean O Fearghail told Ms Coppinger it was not appropriate to discuss a medical situation in the Dail.

Ms Coppinger insisted: “This is about the law.”

Ms Coppinger’s party colleague Brid Smith said the woman had asked for the case to be raised in the Dail.

Coombe Women’s Hospital in Dublin – stock
Coombe Women’s Hospital in Dublin – stock

A spokesman for the hospital said the claim is “untrue”.

A statement said that in the context of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 and the latest draft guidelines, “the board of guardians and directors of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital has no role whatsoever in certifying a termination of pregnancy”.

It added: “Insofar as recent media coverage has stated that the board has had a role in determining whether or not the criteria for certification have been met, those reports are untrue.”

Legislation providing for abortions up to 12 weeks without restriction was signed into law in the Republic of Ireland on December 20 by President Michael D Higgins, following a landslide vote in favour of liberalising the country’s laws.

Abortion services were introduced on January 1.