An Irish woman is being compensated for being forced to travel for an abortion

Abortion rights activists at Connolly station, Dublin, after they took a train from Dublin to Belfast to bring back abortion pills unavailable in the Republic of Ireland.
Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

LONDON The Irish government has for the first time compensated a woman for the trauma caused when she had to travel overseas to get an abortion.

Amanda Mellet was told when she was in the 21st week of pregnancy that the foetus had a fatal abnormality and it would not survive.

In the Republic of Ireland, a constitutional ban on abortion means that only women whose pregnancies put their lives at risk can have access to safe, legal abortion services. This constitutional ban means that abortion is not permitted in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities.

Mellet had to choose between carrying her pregnancy to term knowing that the foetus would die in the womb or after birth or travelling overseas to get an abortion at her own personal expense.

She travelled to England for a termination, but had to return home 12 hours after the procedure as she couldn’t afford to stay longer.

Mellet and her husband James took the case to the UN Human Rights committee after she was refused bereavement counselling and medical care available to women who miscarry.

‘Discrimination and cruel, inhumane treatment’

According to a UN report, the foetus’ ashes were “unexpectedly delivered to Mellet three weeks later by courier”.

UN experts concluded that she had been subjected to “discrimination and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment” as a result of Ireland’s abortion ban.

Abortion rights groups have hailed the government’s move as a small step in recognising the “trauma and distress” faced by “so many women and couples because of Irelands prohibitive abortion laws”.

“By offering compensation and appropriate counselling to Amanda, the government has acknowledged the significant trauma she and her husband suffered,” said Ailbhe Smyth of the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment, in a statement.

Smyth said the government must immediately ensure no other woman suffers similar human rights violations.

“We cannot, as a country, continue to oversee the violation of womens human rights. Were saying that women deserve better and Ireland can do much better,” Smyth continued.

SEE ALSO: Drone delivers abortion pills to Northern Irish women

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