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21st Apr 2018

The Eighth ‘robbed us of the right to grieve with family’, says woman who suffered FFA

'We desperately wanted our daughter.'
8th Amendement 'robbed us of the right to grieve with family', says Irish woman

“There was a chance this could become life-threatening.”

An Irish mother whose baby suffered a fatal foetal abnormality has said that having to travel for an abortion compounded her and her family’s grief.

Amy Walsh was told that the child she was expecting had developed triploidy, a fatal chromosomal disorder, which meant she would die before during birth.

“We desperately wanted our daughter, but the doctors explained to us that there was no possibility she would survive,” she said.

“If we wished to stay in the Irish hospital system and under its care, I would have to stay pregnant until our daughter died naturally.”

The condition also began to have a debilitating effect on Amy, calling her life into question.

“My physical and mental health started to deteriorate – my blood pressure was rising and I was showing signs of early pre-eclampsia. The doctors told me that there was a chance this could become life-threatening.”

She and her partner made the heartbreaking decision to travel to the UK to terminate the pregnancy. There, they learned they wouldn’t be able to bring their daughter’s remains home.

'There was no possibility she would survive': Woman who had to travel for abortion due to FFA

“Rose Sophia was stillborn in Liverpool,” said Amy.

“I had wanted to bring her body home, so we could have a funeral service with family and friends and I had wanted my family to meet her. But she was so tiny and fragile we were told that she would probably not survive the journey home intact in the car and ferry.

“It was put to us that it would be more respectful to her to have her cremated in Liverpool.”

Amy, who spoke at an Amnesty International event in Dublin today, is campaigning for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment.

“The Eight Amendment robbed us of the right to grieve for our daughter with our family,” she said.

“None of our family got to meet her and this made the whole experience and her loss so much worse.”

Amnesty International Ireland is also calling for a Yes vote next month.

“The question we need to ask ourselves is, if a women or girl is pregnant, and feels she cannot continue with that pregnancy, who decides what happens next?,” said the organisation’s director Colm O’Gorman today.

“It’s time to care for women at home, and to respect their right to make decisions that are right for them and their families.”