Woman off life support after court ruling in Ireland

The group Chooselife held a National Prayer Vigil for the right to life of mothers and babies during a service at Knock Shrine. A lawyer representing a fetus living inside the clinically dead body of its mother says the unborn child's right to life trumps the woman's right to a dignified death. Conor Dignam made his closing arguments Wednesday, Dec 24 2014, to three Dublin High Court judges. Their judgment was announced Friday, Dec 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

DUBLIN (AP) – A brain-dead pregnant woman in Ireland has been taken off life support. This, after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus can’t survive for the extra two months that would be needed to be delivered safely.

The court today said that all artificial support for the woman should end, more than three weeks after she was declared clinically dead.

The woman’s relatives then gathered at a hospital in the Irish Midlands to bid farewell.

The court case exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland’s strict ban on abortion in an age of medical innovation.

In their ruling, the three judges on the Dublin High Court accepted testimony from seven doctors who said the woman’s body was becoming an environment that would be lethal to the fetus.

The nation’s Supreme Court was put on standby for an appeal — but lawyers representing the rights of the woman and of the fetus said they accepted the ruling.

Ireland has the strictest abortion ban in Europe, a reflection of the country’s heavily Roman Catholic population. But Dublin’s archbishop had suggested before the decision came down that he would have no objection to removing life support.

The woman sustained a severe head injury in a fall. She had already been hospitalized after doctors found a cyst in her brain.

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