Both sides to pay own costs in home birth case

Friday 06 September 2013 16.31
Aja Teehan had taken a case in the High Court
Aja Teehan had taken a case in the High Court

The High Court has ruled that no order be made in relation to costs in the case of a pregnant woman who took legal action against a decision by the Health Service Executive refusing to facilitate a home birth.

The ruling means that both parties will meet their own legal costs.

Aja Teehan, a university lecturer from Co Kilkenny, who is due to give birth next month, had taken a case in the High Court following the HSE decision.

She is now planning to travel to an undisclosed location in the UK for a midwifery-led home birth.

The HSE had refused to facilitate the home birth on the basis that Ms Teehan had previously had a caesarean section.

The High Court found that this policy was reasonable.

Ms Teehan's legal representatives said she would not be appealing the High Court ruling in the case.

"I'm going to have to leave the country for my birth, so as soon as I finish work, my entire family are going to have to move. We're going to the UK, I'm not going to disclose where we're going.

"I have given my entire pregnancy to attempting to try and vindicate the rights of women during pregnancy. I'll be forced to leave the country but it will still be my private home birth.

"We still have substantial costs we have incurred ourselves and will incur as a direct result of the case, I have started a fundraising appeal. We need to raise €10,798, that's our best estimate at the minute."

AIMS Ireland, a voluntary group lobbying for improvements in maternity services, has welcomed today's decision by the court.

It said the case had had significant repercussions for women seeking evidence-based maternity care in Ireland.