Irish Girl Committed to Psychiatric Unit Because She Wanted an Abortion

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A horrific story is coming out of Ireland where a young girl who wanted an abortion was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric unit. According to the Child Care Law Reporting Project, the girl (who remains anonymous) went to her doctor after finding out she was pregnant. While abortions in Ireland are currently illegal, under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act (PLPDA), a pregnant person can obtain an abortion if there is reason to believe said person is suicidal. Unfortunately, the psychiatrist who evaluated the girl maintained that she was not suicidal, just mentally ill.

And what happened next is like something out of a horror story.

The young girl and her mother were both made to believe that they were being sent to Dublin to obtain the procedure. Instead, the girl was taken into the custody of a mental health facility—against her will. This, sadly, is not as unusual as you might think.

Giphy / wifflegif

Giphy / wifflegif

“This case is in no way surprising to us,” Mara Clarke told Broadly. She works for the Abortion Support Network, and says there have been several situations just like this one.

“We’ve had cases where women who have attempted suicide—in two cases, twice attempted suicide—were deemed not suicidal enough to obtain an abortion in Ireland under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.”

Another pro-choice advocate, Linda Kavanagh of the Abortion Rights Campaign, also maintains that these cases occur merely because the psychiatrists allow their own beliefs to cloud their judgement.

“Looking at the report, it’s hard not to think that the 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. It is clear we need some process which ensures medical professionals with such conscientious objections cannot block timely health care in critical cases.”

It’s clear that the laws in Ireland regarding abortion seriously need to change. Self-harm and suicide are just one of many reasons why a pregnant person should be allowed access to a safe and legal abortion. At the end of the day, the only person who should be allowed to make that decision is the person carrying the pregnancy.

(Image: Pixabay / JuliaFielder)