There have been heated exchanges in the Dáil after it heard that a woman carrying a baby diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality was not granted a termination at the Coombe Hospital in Dublin.

The matter was raised by PBP-Solidarity TDs Ruth Coppinger and Bríd Smith during Order of Business.

Ms Coppinger said the woman was told that she must wait another four weeks to see if there is a spontaneous miscarriage.

She also said that two consultants had confirmed a case of fatal foetal abnormality, but that the board of the hospital refused a termination.

"Now it appears the board of the Coombe Hospital is refusing her constitutional right that we all voted for to have an abortion at a time she chooses."

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl said it was not appropriate that the Dáil would discuss individual medical circumstances. 

However, Deputy Smith said the woman in question had contacted her and asked for the case to be raised in the Dáil.

Responding, Tanáiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the law was clear, but he agreed with the Ceann Comhairle that it was not appropriate to raise the case on the floor of the Dáil.

A spokesperson for Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "We do not comment on individual cases."

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She said the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Act) is clear.

The law allows for terminations when two obstetricians certify the foetus will not survive outside the womb. 

The Coombe Hospital has said that claims that its Board had a role in determining, whether or not the criteria for certification had been met for a termination of pregnancy in a case, are untrue.

In a statement, the hospital said it cannot comment on individual cases, due to patient confidentiality and a legal requirement under data protection.

It said that the Board of Guardians and Directors of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital had no role whatsoever in certifying a termination of pregnancy.

The Department of Health has said this evening that where a patient requires care, not available in a particular location, the patient should be transferred to a hospital or service where the necessary care is available.

It also said there continues to be engagement with the Coombe Hospital with "a view to ensuring full commencement of service provision as soon as possible".

While the Department said it had been advised that the Coombe is currently providing terminations in emergency situations and in cases of fatal foetal abnormality - the hospital would not confirm this tonight.

The hospital said it would not be commenting further, in relation to the provision of abortion services, beyond its previous website statement that it would not be providing termination of pregnancy services, until it was satisfied that the necessary resources had been put in place.

The Department of Health also cited the appeal mechanism for patients if a doctor will not certify that a termination of pregnancy should be performed.