This heartbreaking story from an Irish nurse shows the reality for young pregnant women in Ireland

Abortion is still illegal in the country

For Irish women who decide to terminate their pregnancy, the options are few and far between. Abortion is illegal in the country, and thanks to the 8th Amendment even women who find out their children won’t survive outside the womb have to pay for their own travel to England to receive medical treatment.

Last week on Twitter a woman named Polly, a nurse, midwife and mother of two, vented her frustration and despair at the state of women’s health in Ireland, in a series of tweets which have since gone viral.

The nurse decided to share her story after receiving a horrific distress call which diagnosed an FFA (fatal foetal abnormality) in a young pregnant woman who had come in for her 20 week scan. The couple were told they had the option of paying thousands to go abroad to terminate their pregnancy, or to carry their baby to term, despite the fact that it had no brain tissue and would not survive.

In a heartbreaking series of tweets Polly tells the story of a young couple, their lives changed irrevocably by Ireland’s antiquated abortion laws.

She wrote: “A young couple, no money, twenty week scan, horrific abnormality, most definitely fatal, not just the trauma of the diagnosis, but the absolute powerlessness, their inability to actually do anything. They are trapped due to this country and lack of money, no matter what they decide to do they are heartbroken.

“They thought it could be dealt with here. They contacted me in disbelief, couldn’t believe that this was what was to become of them. They are running out of time, they have no money, the hospital told them if they go [to England to be treated] it will cost €3000. They are in a state of shock, they don’t know what to do, they know they don’t want to go full term and cannot understand the cruelty of it.

“My daughter is their friend and they reached out to her for help, I in turn am involved, I’ve know him all his life. This is their second much wanted baby. The shattering of lives happens in a second. The helplessness they feel, I feel it too, utter bleakness and helplessness.”

“This is wrong, this is cruel, unjust. They are literally tied, into a most horrific situation. Christ when they went for their hospital visit today all happy and dying to see the scan, they could never have predicted this. If they don’t travel they are left with no option other to wait till term (or sooner) and deliver their baby, who has no chance at life because there is no brain tissue.

“And this is because of the 8th amendment. Don’t ask me to love this, or save this amendment, I abhor it and all of the suffering it inflicts upon us. As usual my hands are tied and there is nothing I can do of any benefit except be there and offer support.

“I’m ashamed of this country and I’m ashamed of myself. People deserve way better than what we are giving them. This is a case close to me. I feel for this couple as much as I feel for those I don’t know. My heart is breaking, this needs to stop. We need to help all of these parents and yes support them in ANY choice they make, travel or not, but for those who need travel.

“It’s cruel to expect anyone to travel, they shouldn’t have to. Their care in all completeness should be here. This isn’t fair or right. It’s disgraceful. It has to stop. Being pious or fence sitting isn’t helping – these people and so many like them need real help, non judgemental real time help. Not in 6 months, not in 12 months, not with a citizen assembly and the government playing god.

“They need it now. Repeal the 8th.”