A woman's life was saved when doctors performed Ireland's first legal abortion earlier this summer. The Irish Times reported Friday that the first termination of a pregnancy under the country's historic new abortion law was performed at National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.
Ireland passed its new law allowing abortions in cases where the life of a pregnant woman is at risk in July after the tragic case of Savita Halappanavar caught the attention of the world. Halappanavar died of sepsis at University Hospital of Galway in October of 2012 after being denied an abortion. The 31-year-old dentist checked into the hospital with a miscarriage on October 21, but was denied an abortion because Catholic hospital officials refused to allow it.
Irish President Michael Higgins signed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act in July and the patient at National Maternity was granted the pregnancy termination under Section 7 of the act. In accordance with Section 7, a woman's doctor must demonstrate that carrying the pregnancy to term poses a substantial risk to her life.
Neither the patient nor her doctor have been named.
The Times reported that a council made of Master of National Maternity Hospital Dr. Rhona Mahony, former master Dr. Peter Boylan and other physicians were involved in the decision-making process.
A hospital spokesperson told the Times, however, that even if the law had not been passed, they would have terminated a pregnancy of this kind, saying, "Even before the passage of the legislation, Holles Street would have carried out terminations in cases like this, where the prognosis for the pregnancy was very poor. What’s changed is that we can do our work in the best interests of patients without fear of a possible Medical Council case.”
The patient who received the abortion was an 18-weeks-pregnant woman whose placental membranes ruptured, placing her at acute risk of sepsis. The chances of carrying her twin fetuses to term were very slim, so after consultations with hospital staff, the woman and her partner chose to abort.
The patient is reportedly doing well after the procedure and treatment with antibiotics.
[hat-tip to Think Progress]
[image of woman health worker talking to patient in bed via Shutterstock.com]