A mother whose daughter took abortion pills at home has spoken out ahead of Ireland’s referendum.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s vote on repealing the eighth amendment, Elaine Bedford said her daughter Kate had ordered the pills when she fell pregnant just months after being seriously ill in hospital.
She said Kate, who was 25 when she took the pills two years ago, had type one diabetes and polycystic ovaries and had been told by doctors never to have an unplanned pregnancy, but had fallen pregnant despite taking the contraceptive pill.
At a Together for Yes press conference in Dublin on Wednesday, Ms Bedford said she had been in work on the day when her daughter had taken the pills but had gone home after her daughter messaged her.
“I got home, she was in agony,” she said.
Ms Bedford said she had wanted to call a doctor but her daughter had told her not to.
She said: “This went on for hours, it felt like days. I couldn’t do anything. I was watching her blood sugars.
“It was just heartbreaking. It’s not something I want any mother in this country to ever have to witness.”
She added: “I can’t stand back, at this stage, and let any woman look at that fear in her daughter’s eyes.”
Ms Bedford said her daughter got married last week and was now planning to have a baby.
She said: “She really wants a child but she wants it to be born healthy. She has every right to want that for her child.”
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, who joined Ms Bedford at the press conference, said the issue of abortion pills had “loomed large” during the campaign.
She said: “I think for lots of people it came as news maybe that such pills were available, that they were being imported, that they were being consumed by women and girls with absolutely no medical supervision whatsoever, in secrecy, in silence and with a fear of potential criminal sanction.
“I think today by Elaine telling her story, Kate’s story, it actually makes that situation all the more real.”
She added: “This is the reality. This is another harsh, cruel reality of the eighth amendment and on Friday we will have a big opportunity to put that right.”