After her body began deteriorating at such an alarming rate that it was unrecognizable, her family asked for the equipment to be switched off to preserve her dignity. But doctors refused, fearing they might be prosecuted under Ireland's strict Catholic-influenced abortion laws, which give the 18-week-old fetus the same constitutional rights as the mother.
In a landmark ruling, Dublin's High Court gave doctors permission to switch off the life support machine keeping the young mother alive because she is pregnant.
Under the Irish constitution, the fetus is regarded as a citizen.
In their ruling, three High Court judges agreed the unborn baby had little chance of survival. Her condition is failing to such a degree that it will not be possible for the pregnancy to progress much further or to a point where any form of live birth will be possible. Medical evidence showed the unborn child had no realistic prospect of emerging alive.
An intensive care specialist told the court she inspected the woman's body on Monday and found it unrecognizable compared to a photo of her by her bedside. Having practiced medicine for decades, she had never witnessed a clinically-dead person being kept on life support for so long. She said the woman's blood was becoming increasingly toxic.
The case has reignited debate over Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion which requires doctors to take all possible measures to protect the life of a fetus.
See full story at The Telegraph.
This highly emotive subject is bound to touch us in some way. On the one hand, when the woman was pronounced dead, she should have been allowed to rest, pregnant or not. But what of the unborn life?