“Couldn’t Do That in This Country No’


Abortion clinic


‘Rebecca’ became pregnant in September of last year.

When she had her 20 week scan In January, she discovered her son, Christopher Denis, had complications that were incompatible with life.

She spoke with Jonathan Healy of Lunchtime on Newstalk.

Rebecca: “We were given the options and told that basically the baby wouldn’t survive outside the womb and if he did – we didn’t even know it was a boy at the time – he could live for three seconds he could just take one breath and not come back from that breath or live for 3 minutes…. We could terminate or continue with the pregnancy… So the next day myself and my husband made the decision to terminate because the baby had no chance… Because I was so far gone you know, my time was running out basically to go to England … so from that day then I only had ten days left to make this, from that day to actually book in to go to Liverpool it took us 10 days.”

Jonathan Healy: “This was January 2014… so you would have been aware of all the discussion that had gone on about fatal foetal abnormality and the decision in the X case and the court case and all that and you would have listened to that not knowing you were going to find yourself in that position?”

Rebecca: “Of course… There are probably girls going into the hospital this morning and being told this and you never thought anything of it you thought you had a healthy pregnancy you had a healthy first pregnancy you thought this I thought this was the same and you know it wasn’t, totally different altogether.”

Healy: “And the decision to go for the termination? How difficult was that for you and your husband?”

Rebecca: “It’s so difficult. Myself and my husband were awake all night and you know itt’s just so difficult, you’d never think you’d be faced by this ever. And it’s not something you take lightly, you know, I’m totally against abortion… but termination for medical reasons is totally different but the other thing I’m totally against that even though we’ve been through this ourselves but that decision is one of the hardest decisions that any mother has to make. The hardest thing for me is making that decision knowing that my little baby was still kicking inside and you know, no mother should have to do that.”

Healy: “How else did the medical system deal with you here, because you were left with no choice…?

Rebecca: “I suppose the nurse’s hands are tied, they can’t do anything for you they can only advise you on what to do and that’s basically down to the law because it’s illegal, They can steer you in the direction of who to contact but that’s it they can’t do anything else for you. So basically you come out of the hospital after being given this information, that doctor in England doesn’t just take this on lightly they have to get your medical records and if they think your baby is going to survive they don’t do the procedure.”

Healy: “Yourself and your husband headed off to Liverpool. And when you got there you were going over on a flight presumably with people who were going away for the weekend?

Rebecca: “Crazy. There’s girls going on hen weekends and they’re all having their fun and rightly so and you’re sitting there and there are awful things going through your mind, you get off that plane then and you’re rushing to the hospital even the taximan trying to make small talk with you… they kind of know what you’re going for but it’s the most horrific journey I’ve ever had to take in my life. We were in Liverpool for football matches but this has totally changed for us I don’t think we could go to Liverpool again and not think why we were there the last time.”

Healy: “When did you find out the baby was a boy?”

Rebecca: “We actually found out when the doctor in Liverpool done the scan. Even when we got to Liverpool then and she was doing the scan she actually found there were more things wrong with Christopher Denis than actually thought. So he would have no chance…no chance at all.”

Healy: “So you have the termination and what happens then to an Irish woman in the Liverpool hospital who’s had that termination because, you know there are relatively swift procedures. How long did you stay in the hospital?”

Rebecca: “I was in the hospital, we got there on the 21st I think it was a Monday a Tuesday I think it was and it was 9.30 in the morning so basically I didn’t have Christopher Denis then I had him into the Wed morning on the 22nd. It’s not a procedure that is done straight away, you still have to have the baby, go through the labour process and the whole thing. I think people think you’re just brought in and it’s done straight away, it’s not.”

Healy: “So you actually delivered Christopher Denis?”|

Rebecca: “I actually delivered Christopher Denis, yes.”

Healy: “And you couldn’t do that in this country.”

Rebecca: “Couldn’t do that in this country no. So my baby was born in Britain. I had to go to another country for my, I must say, much-wanted baby. We planned our baby and everything and it didn’t happen for us that way so we had to go to England to have our baby.”

Healy: “Did you get to see him did you get to hold him.”

Rebecca: “Yes we got to hold him yes. We had Christopher Denis for 19 and half hours. So I had him at 2.15 into the Wednesday morning so we had to head back home that day.”

Healy: “So could you bring Christopher Denis with you?”

Rebecca: “No We had to leave our baby there as well.”

Healy: “And why was that Rebecca?”

Rebecca: “Because basically we wanted to have a post-mortem and I suppose whether to see for us to start a family again because us not knowing what was wrong with Christopher Dennis we needed the post-mortem. We had him on 22nd January we didn’t get our baby back until the 5th March.”

Healy: “So you would have gone home on the flight with the hen nights… and how did Christopher Denis come home.”

Rebecca: “Christopher Denis came home unfortunately in a little box delivered by TNT. You know when you have your baby all the balloons in the house…there was none of that. This is I don’t know the worst pain you can ever feel in your life. Myself and my husband never got to see the baby. The grandparents never got to see the baby. We have lovely photographs and everything of our baby but that’s all we have. Now I still have my baby at home, he comes to bed with his mammy and daddy every night but that’s how he came home. People don’t realise that how your baby is coming home. Your baby is coming home in a box.”

Dublin woman had “son’s remains delivered by TNT” after fatal foetal abnormality procedure (Newstalk)

Thanks Nadine Moloney

PIc: Guardian

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28 thoughts on ““Couldn’t Do That in This Country No’

  1. Planet of the Missing Biros

    Is it Joe Duffy hour? Is the whole point of this post just to have that emotive headline which is the result of Newstalk luring it out of the unfortunate woman.

    I hate vulnerable people being used like this for a bit of outrage radio. Only to be forgotten the next day.

    1. Sidewinder

      Sure she’s definitely not an independent human being capable of making her own decisions. The constitution says so.

  2. scottser

    that’s a heartbreaking story and its so fukd up they’re denied a proper service here. i hope they’re able to start the family they want so badly.
    *crosses fingers

  3. Lorcan Nagle

    I have nothing but respect for Rebecca for getting her story out there. A friend of mine’s wife went through the exact same thing a few years ago, and despite being told that travel and an abortion were the best option, they still second-guessed themselves over and over. It wasn’t until the Late Late show where the three women who told their stores that they realised how many Irish people go through this trauma but so few talk about it. The culture of shame over undertaking a medical procedure for the health of a woman has to go.

  4. les rock

    heartbreaking. I hope everything works out for them. Those doctors in liverpool seemed to be wonderful people also. Time to change our draconian laws

  5. Gers

    Oh look, Rebecca wants to tell what other women should do with their body. Sad story but thats what you get when you dont support abortion in the first place.

    1. dee

      I have full sympathy for her situation and the laws needs to be rectified immediately, but why did she feel the need to repeatedly mention that she was totally against abortion? Just tell your story – the whole point is to break the silence – don’t shame others in the process – yours is a medical procedure – as are other peoples abortions.

      1. Liggy

        It is part of the shame game that is forced down the throats of every young girl in this country. Only those sort of women have sex / use contraception / have an abortion. Who can blame an uninformed woman for declaring “Look I am not like those other women who have had abortions”

        Well love, as one of those “other women”, my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry that you found yourself in this terrifying, unfair, horrific situation. I am not judging you for wanting to distance yourself from “my type” of woman who had an abortion but not out of medical necessity. My version is here if anyone wants to read it: https://www.broadsheet.ie/2014/08/22/i-took-the-boat/. I think you are going through enough and I hope you find the strenght to get through it.

        A small concelation may be that UK hospitals are very experienced and skilled at carrying out terminations and carrying out the life-saving scrape afterwards which ensures that all remaining matter is removed from the womb. This means your changes of infection as a result of the procedure are very low so your chance of carrying abother healthy baby to term are increased as long as there are no other undiscoverted medical conditions which would prevent that happening.

        There are other women out there, women without supportive partners or women without the cost of the trip to the UK, and the cost of somewhere to stay before the doctor’s examination before the operation and the cost of the hospital care and the cost of the procedure who will not be able to make that trip. What about them? What about the unfairness of having the views of the minority mean that these poor women are forced to carry to term?

  6. KirkenBrenner

    “He Came Home In A Little Box Delivered By TNT’”

    The things they can do with precision explosives these days.

  7. Nikkeboentje

    I have nothing but sympathy for Rebecca and her husband. I’m not sure if I read the article correctly, this paragraph in particular:

    “Now I still have my baby at home, he comes to bed with his mammy and daddy every night but that’s how he came home. People don’t realise that how your baby is coming home. Your baby is coming home in a box.”

    …but I understood it that she brings her baby’s body to bed every night? Surely that cannot be healthy (from a mental health perspective). I really hope Rebecca gets some assistance to help her grieve properly.

  8. Dubloony

    Surely arrangements can be made to take the body home in a case like this so that parents can properly grieve.
    We don’t need an 8th amendment for that.

    Agree that the whole issue of shame needs to be dealt with. It silences people, isolates them and makes matters worse.

    1. Anne

      The whole sorry state of things causes a lot of shame I’d imagine.
      Having to skulk off to another country is some sort of sick joke in this day and age.

      I can’t understand how this is still happening in the 21st century.
      A hill-billy hellhole is more progressive than here.

    2. Sidewinder

      I’ve heard this many times in relation to tfmr. Something to do with a combination of citizenship issues and disposal of human remains. Not sure what the story is. As with all issues in pregnancy I imagine the time pressures involved don’t offer a lot of space to explore available options.

  9. Karen

    awful story but have to agree that its a shame that she doesn’t agree that women had should have the final say on what happens with their bodies.

    I hope she finds peace anyway.

    1. rotide

      Typical bloody broadsheet codswallop.

      The woman said she was against abortion. She didnt say anything about not being pro choice.

      I don’t know if she is or she isn’t but they two arent mutually exclusive and a lot of people around here need to learn that.

    2. Nigel

      Getting an intervention for an issue like this shouldn’t even be a question, shouldn’t be controversial, shouldn’t be part of the debate. Reasonable people can disagree etc, but this is inhuman.

      1. rotide

        Couldn’t agree more with you Nigel.

        Unfortunatly there’s been two comments on this (and probably a few others thinking it) that somehow because she’s against abortion she deserves it.

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