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High Court: Irish Teen has Right to UK Abortion

Posted May 9, 2007 7:16 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An Irish court has ruled that a pregnant 17-year-old who is in the care of the government has the right to travel to England for a legal abortion, as some 7,000 of Irish women do annually. Abortion is illegal in Ireland, except to save the life of the mother.

Social workers had sought to block the teen's trip, but the Irish High Court held Wednesday that she had a constitutional right to travel, reports the International Herald Tribune. The teen, who is not named in news reports, decided to have an abortion after doctors told her that her four-month fetus will die a few days after birth, due to a fatal brain abnormality.

Similar cases have arisen before, with varying results, reports the London Times in an article written before the court's decision. In 1992, the Irish Supreme Court ruled that a 14-year-old who had been raped could travel to England for an abortion, but the Irish legislature has declined to enact legislation codifying that rule.

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