Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Girl sectioned after asking for an abortion in Ireland

women march.jpg

A pregnant girl who sought an abortion in Ireland was denied a termination and sectioned against her will under the Mental Health Act, it has been revealed.

The unnamed teen and her mother were under the impression she was being transferred to a Dublin hospital for an abortion late last year but instead she was detained on a psychiatric ward, the Child Care Law Reporting Project reports.

Read more: #Repealthe8th: woman shares powerful teen abortion story in bid to challenge Irish laws

A consultant psychiatrist who assessed the girl said that while she was at risk of self harm and suicide as a result of the pregnancy, they thought “this could be managed by treatment” and abortion was “not the solution” to all her problems, the report states. An order was then made for the girl to be sectioned in a psychiatric ward.

Ireland’s abortion ban:

  • From the moment of conception, terminations are illegal even in cases of rape, incest or ill health of the mother – unless there is a “real and substantial risk to the mother's life, as distinct from the health of the mother”

A court guardian arguing for the pregnant girl’s release requested a second psychiatrist assess her. They said she had “very strong views” as to why she wanted an abortion and concluded that being depressed did not mean she could be detained under the Mental Health Act.

The child was released after several days of being detained when a district court ruled that she "no longer had a mental health disorder."


A teenage girl was detained when she sought an abortion

“Looking at the report, it’s hard not to think that the [first] psychiatrist in this case essentially used the Mental Health Act as a tool to force a child into continuing an unwanted pregnancy because of their own personal beliefs,” Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Linda Kavanagh told the Irish Mirror.

“It is clear we need some process which ensures medical professionals with such conscientious objections cannot block timely health care in critical cases,” she added.

Read more: Why protesters in 30 cities across the world marched to #Repealthe8th

However, John Hillery, the president of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, told the Irish Independent it is unfair to put psychiatrists in a position of deciding whether a distressed woman or girl should have an abortion “when it is a political issue that should be decided in wider society”.

The National Women's Council of Ireland said the case "highlighted the medical unworkability of the Eighth Amendment, and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act."

Pro-life campaigners said pro-choice campaigners were “grossly irresponsible” for using the case to attack the Eighth Amendment.

Incoming Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has promised to hold a referendum on abortion rights next year.

Image: iStock


cameron diaz.jpg

Someone asked Cameron Diaz why she didn’t get married until she was 42

dumplings hero.jpg

How dumplings are helping unite migrant women

girls hannah elijah.jpg

This is why you stay friends with your ex, according to science


Thought-provoking illustrations reveal hidden secrets of strangers

The artist was met with “unexpected confessions”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

The most annoying Tube habits, as ranked by irritated Londoners

“Could you move down, please?”

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

These are the main reasons relationships end, according to a new study

...and the reasons couples stay together

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

The new Great British Bake Off might be OK after all

The first episode has not bombed, we repeat: it has not bombed

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

Woman claims she was fired for leaking during a heavy period at work

“Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Women football fans forced to show bras while being searched at match

Add this to your list of ‘things that are definitely not OK’

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

This prosecco advent calendar will have you waving goodbye to summer

We're suddenly very excited about Christmas

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

Heartfelt letter on coping with an anxious partner goes viral

“Anxiety isn't a one size fits all, it isn't consistent and it isn't always easy to tell”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Why India banning instant divorce is a major victory for women

India’s Supreme Court has ruled against triple talaq, which allowed Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

Jennifer Aniston really isn’t happy about *that* Friends fan theory

She’s decided to put an end to the rumours, once and for all

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017