Investigation into death of Irish-based woman after UK abortion

Tuesday 23 July 2013 00.29
Metropolitan Police are investigating the death of an Irish-based woman after an abortion in London
Metropolitan Police are investigating the death of an Irish-based woman after an abortion in London

Police in Britain are investigating the case of a woman who travelled from Dublin to London for an abortion last year, but died hours after the procedure.

The woman's husband told The Irish Times that his wife had sought an abortion at a maternity hospital in Dublin but had been told that it was not legally possible to provide one.

The 32-year-old, who was a foreign national living in Ireland, underwent an abortion at a Marie Stopes clinic in west London in January 2012.

She died in a taxi hours after the procedure.

Marie Stopes International declined to comment, citing client confidentiality.

The Metropolitan Police has said a file on the woman's death was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in April this year.

An inquest is yet to be held.

The police continue to investigate the sudden death, a spokesman said.

It is understood the woman's life was not considered to be at risk when she sought the procedure, although she had a condition that raised the risk of miscarriage.

The woman's husband, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he is frustrated at the lack of progress in the investigation.

"I think if this was an Irish or a British woman, we would know what happened to her. But I am still waiting for answers," he said.

The woman had a child in Ireland in 2010. Her pregnancy was painful and complicated by extensive fibroids and treatment could have left her infertile.

"We were worried about what would happen when she became pregnant again," he said.

"She was sick, but we were told that nothing could be done in Ireland."

It is understood the woman was about 20 weeks pregnant when she travelled to Britain for an abortion.

Her husband told the newspaper that she may have acted sooner but was examining options and raising money for the procedure.

It is understood the woman was suddenly taken ill in the Slough area of Berkshire at about midnight on the day of the procedure while in a taxi.

She was pronounced dead at Wexham Park Hospital after suffering a heart attack caused by extensive internal blood loss.

The couple were in Ireland on student visas at the time of her death.

Government unaware of details of case

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald described the woman's death as a "traumatic and dreadful" tragedy.

She said the Government is unaware of the details of the particular case and the woman's medical circumstances.

"Clearly it's a tragic story and a tragic outcome for that young woman and we clearly must have all of the facts outlined in relation given the fact that the woman travelled from Ireland and died in a taxi in England," Ms Fitzgerald said.

She reminded Irish women who travel to the UK for an abortion that aftercare is available to them upon their return.

She said it is "extremely important that those women are aware that after care is available for them when they return to this country and there are good services".