Ms Y

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Ms Y is a woman who unsuccessfully sought to have an abortion in the Republic of Ireland.[1][2] She is an asylum seeker who arrived in Ireland and became suicidal after discovered she was pregnant as a result of a rape in her home country. At the time, Ireland's abortion laws limited abortion in nearly all cases. She was unable to travel to the UK for an abortion, and after a hunger strike the High Court granted an order to hydrate her against her will. After the 1992 X Case judgement, abortion should be legal in cases of suicide, and the then newly introduced Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 allows abortion in those cases. Her baby was delivered via caesarian section, but there is ongoing controversy over whether the government handled the case appropriately.[3][4]

Case details[edit]

On 28 March 2014 a foreign national, with limited English[5][6] arrived in Ireland.[7] She said she had been raped in her home country. She discovered she was pregnant on 4 April, when she arrived in Ireland, and she sought an abortion.[8]

On 1 July 2014, she attempted to travel to the UK via ferry, but was arrested upon arrival for illegally entering the UK.[7][9] She said that she felt suicidal, and the two psychiatrists on the panel decreed that she indeed was suicidal but that her pregnancy had proceeded to the point of viability, so that she could not access lawful abortion under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.[10] She then went on hunger strike. The HSE obtained a High Court order to hydrate her.[5] The baby was delivered via caesarian section at 25 weeks gestation[3] over the weekend of 2/3 August 2014.[11]

This was the first case under Ireland's recently enacted law, the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013.[5]



The case was being investigated by the HSE.[12][13] Ms Y was too ill to be interviewed by the HSE.[14] However a draft version was prepared and leaked to the media in September 2014. She initiated court action against the HSE to stop the inquiry, and the case was settled out of court with the HSE quashing the report.[15][16][17][18]


  • 2,000 people protested for more abortion access in Dublin on 20 August 2014.[19]
  • Similar protests took place in Galway, Belfast, Cork and Limerick, and outside Irish embassies in London and Berlin.[4]
  • 800 pro-choice protestors marched in Dublin on 23 August 2014.[20]
  • 400 people attended an anti-abortion vigil in Dublin on 23 August 2014.[21]

International media coverage[edit]

As well as Irish national media attention (in The Irish Times,[8] the Irish Independent,[22] and the Irish Examiner[23]), the case is being covered by international media, such as Al Jazeera's The Stream,[24] The Guardian,[3] The Sunday Times,[5][25] and The New York Times.[26]

Court case[edit]

By September 2015, she had been granted refugee status and has begun to sue 11 organisations.[11]

In March 2016, she initiated a court case against the Irish State for "alleged trespass, assault and battery; alleged negligence; and alleged reckless and intentional infliction of emotional harm and suffering".[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McEnroe, Juno (21 August 2014). "Minister joins calls for public forum on law change after teen rape case". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  2. ^ Holland, Kitty (3 September 2014). "Government 'reflecting' on abortion legislation, says Reilly". The Irish Times.
  3. ^ a b c Valenti, Jessica (18 August 2014). "A pregnant, suicidal rape victim fought Ireland's new abortion law. The law won". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Protests to call for repeal of 8th amendment". Irish Examiner. 20 August 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d Tighe, Mark (17 August 2014). "State 'denied abortion' to rape victim". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014.
  6. ^ Holland, Kitty (4 October 2014). "Timeline of Ms Y case". Irish Times.
  7. ^ a b Holland, Kitty (7 November 2014). "Report on Ms Y case to include journey to Liverpool to seek abortion". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b Holland, Kitty; Mac Cormaic, Ruadhán (19 August 2014). "They said they could not do an abortion. I said, 'You can leave me now to die. I don't want to live in this world anymore'". The Irish Times.
  9. ^ Holland, Kitty (10 November 2014). "Ms Y held in UK after failing to obtain abortion here". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ Máiréad Enright & de Londras, “‘Empty Without and Empty Within’: The Unworkability of the Eighth Amendment after Savita Halappanavar and Miss Y” (2014) 20(2) Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland 85
  11. ^ a b Holland, Kitty (19 September 2015). "'Ms Y' to sue 11 respondents over abortion refusal". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  12. ^ "HSE review terms on abortion case being considered by representatives of woman at centre of case". RTÉ. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  13. ^ "HSE publish terms of reference for abortion case review". Irish Examiner. 22 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  14. ^ Sheehan, Maeve (2 November 2014). "Ms Y 'too fragile' to help inquiry into her treatment". Irish Independent. p. 3. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  15. ^ "'Ms Y' court challenge to stop HSE inquiry into her care is struck out". The Irish Times. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2016. “These proceedings were brought to quash this report and this has now effectively been achieved an renders the report entirely redundant,” the statement said.
  16. ^ O’Loughlin, Ann (4 November 2015). "Ms Y settles court challenge to stop HSE inquiry". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  17. ^ O’Faolain, Aodhan (4 November 2015). "HSE 'quash' Ms Y report on refused abortion". The Times.
  18. ^ O’Loughlin, Ann (16 December 2014). "Ms Y seeks to stop HSE inquiry into her care". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  19. ^ McMahon, Aine (20 August 2014). "Thousands at Dublin pro-choice march over Irish abortion laws". The Irish Times. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  20. ^ McGuire, Erin (23 August 2014). "Both sides of abortion debate air views in Dublin demonstrations". The Irish Times.
  21. ^ "HSE to commence abortion inquiry immediately". 23 August 2014.
  22. ^ McDonald, Dearbhail; Sheahan, Fionnan (16 August 2014). "Baby delivered as woman refused abortion under law". Irish Independent.
  23. ^ "HSE to show terms of abortion-case review to woman's representatives before publication".
  24. ^ "Ireland's abortion debate reignites". The Stream. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  25. ^ Charter, David (19 August 2014). "New Irish abortion law fails rape victim". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  26. ^ Dalby, Douglas (17 August 2014). "Case in Which Abortion Was Denied Reignites Controversy Over Irish Law". The New York Times.
  27. ^ "Ms Y, asylum seeker refused an abortion, sues State". Irish Times. 18 March 2016.
  28. ^ Healy, Tim (18 March 2016). "Ms Y suing the State after being refused abortion when she arrived here as asylum seeker pregnant from alleged rape". Irish Independent.