Ireland pays woman forced to travel to Britain for abortion €30,000 in compensation

Ireland pays woman forced to travel to Britain for abortion €30,000 in compensation

THE Irish Government has paid out €30,000 to a woman who had to travel to Britain for an abortion after a fatal foetal abnormality diagnosis.

Siobhan Whelan was refused a medical abortion despite learning that her unborn son had holoprosencephaly – a congenial brain disorder.

The Wexford woman, who was told her child would likely die in utero or soon after birth, was forced to travel to Britain for a termination in 2010.

Following the procedure in Liverpool, Ms Whelan brought a complaint against the Irish State to the UN Human Rights Committee, who concluded that her human rights had been violated.

The Committee said that the Irishwoman had been treated in a “cruel, inhuman and degrading” manner.

Today, the Irish Government confirmed it paid Ms Whelan a sum – understood to be €30,000 (£26,500) – following the UN’s decision in June.

In a statement, Ms Whelan said: "The human rights committee's decision this year on my complaint, in which it recognised the human rights violations I faced, was immensely important for me.

“I am very glad the Government has now taken steps to acknowledge the committee's decision by providing reparations to me and I am grateful for this recognition.

"However, for me, the most important aspect of the Government's obligation is to ensure law reform so that other women no longer have to suffer in this way.

"This is why I took my complaint to the human rights committee and I hope it will not be long before our laws are changed so that women like me can be given the best possible care at home.”

This was the second time in a year that the Irish State has compensated a woman refused an abortion.

Another woman, Amanda Mellet, was awarded €30,000 in December 2016 after the UN Human Rights Committee ruled in her favour.

Ms Mellet was forced to travel to England for an abortion in 2012 after her unborn child was diagnosed with Edwards' syndrome with congenital heart defects – with little to no chance of life outside the womb.