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Life-support decision over foetus

Judges in Ireland are to rule today whether the life support machine sustaining a pregnancy in a clinically-dead woman may be turned off.

Members of the woman's family have sought to switch the equipment off to preserve her dignity.

Doctors have refused to do so, fearing they might be prosecuted under Ireland's strict Catholic-influenced abortion laws, which give the 18-week-old foetus the same constitutional rights as the mother.

Under the Irish constitution, the foetus is regarded as a citizen.

The woman, in her late 20s, has been brain-dead since suffering a trauma injury last month.

A decision on the case, which is being heard by three senior Irish judges at the High Court in Dublin, is expected today.

Doctors have previously told the court the unborn baby cannot survive.

The three-judge panel, comprising president of the High Court Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, Ms Justice Marie Baker and Ms Justice Caroline Costello, is to rule on whether the law permits the woman's life support to be turned off.


From Belfast Telegraph