She's only 18. And if she were your daughter, you'd be outraged too.

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Warning: Details in this post are quite distressing and could be triggering for some readers. 

She endured an unthinkable trauma that left her suicidal.

What she needed was compassion and immediate action — but what she received was slow, unsympathetic mistreatment by the authorities who were supposed to act in her interests.

According to the Sunday Times, a teenage girl in Ireland reportedly discovered she was pregnant after a rape earlier this year.

The girl, now 18, asked for an abortion eight weeks into her pregnancy — but was denied the procedure under the predominantly Catholic country’s strict abortion laws.

An expert panel reviewed the girl’s case, and she was told she could either give birth via caesarean section or carry the foetus to term.

The girl had been born overseas and was not able to travel abroad for an abortion because of her legal status. So began to starve herself, ready to die rather than have the baby.

irelands abortion laws
Demonstrators hold placards and candles in memory of Indian Savita Halappanavar in Dublin in 2012. (Photo: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

Finally, at 25 weeks’ pregnant – with the government refusing to relent- the desperate girl gave birth via caesarean section. Her baby is alive, but is likely to have significant disabilities, The Independent reports.

Those are practically all known details of the unnamed girl’s case, as a court order prohibits the reporting of the woman’s circumstances.

But the tragic story has sparked outrage over Ireland’s abortion laws, prompting thousands to take to the streets in protest.

According to The Irish Times, protesters chanted “not the church, not the State, women must control their fate” on Tuesday, calling for the government to repeal the eighth amendment to the Constitution.

That 1983 amendment introduced a constitutional ban on abortion.

“I think this young woman has been treated appallingly,” protester Jennifer Brennan told The Irish Times.


“I think that we can do a lot better for women in this country and for women who come from overseas,” she said.

Further protests took place yesterday in cities including London and Berlin, according to The Journal.

Savita Halappanavar, who died from sepsis after being refused an abortion.

The teenage girl’s distressing case seems to confirm that little has changed in Ireland’s anti-choice stance, despite the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act coming into effect in January.

That law allows abortion in limited circumstances for the very first time, but recommends all “practicable” measures be taken to preserve the life of the “unborn”.

Ireland’s tough abortion laws previously made headlines following the October 2012 death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar.

The Indian national had asked for a termination at 17′ weeks gestation because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying- but the abortion was refused under the country’s restrictive laws, and Ms Halappanavar died of sepsis in a Galway hospital.

Ireland’s Health Service Executive has said it is undertaking an internal review to report on the care given to the teenage woman at the centre of the recent controversy.

The Irish Times reports HSE’s director general, Tony O’Brien, has requested a report that establishes all of the facts surrounding the care given to the teenager.

The report is due by the end of September.

Do you support changes to Ireland’s abortion laws?

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