A 17-year-old girl who is four months pregnant and whose child cannot survive outside the womb has gone to the High Court to challenge a decision by the Health Service Executive to stop her leaving the State for an abortion.

The girl is in the care of the HSE and is challenging its decision to contact gardaí and not to let her travel for the abortion unless she presented as a suicide risk.

The girl, known only as Miss D, is from the Leinster area.

She found out a week ago that her baby has anencephaly, which means the baby's brain is not developing properly.

The child will live a very short time, if at all, after it is born.

After hearing this, the girl made a decision to travel to the UK for a termination but the HSE asked gardaí not to permit her to leave the jurisdiction.

The High Court was told an order was made in the district court in February putting the girl into the care of the HSE because of the conduct of her mother towards her.

The court heard her father was 'absent from her life'.

She is challenging the district court order in so far as it restricts her leaving the State.

She is also challenging the HSE's decision to ask gardaí to stop her and she is challenging the HSE's decision to refuse to let her travel to terminate the pregnancy unless there was a risk she would commit suicide.

Mr Justice Liam McKechnie ordered that the HSE and the State be notified of the girl's application and the case has been listed for mention tomorrow morning.