IRELAND – Amy Dunne: “I was told I would be done for murder”

Amy Dunne was severalmonths pregnant the week she turned 17, and learned she was carrying a baby withanencephaly, a fatal abnormality. She was given a pseudonym and became thefocus of a landmark Irish legal case – and now she is reclaiming her story.

Although she wasliving in foster care, Dunne had looked forward to becoming a mother andbuilding a new life with her boyfriend. Distraught, she shared the news withher social workers and said she needed to travel to Britain from Ireland for anabortion.

A social worker toldher she could not leave, and that if she did leave the country to have anabortion she would be done for murder, and anyone who accompanied her would bean accomplice to murder. This was April 2007. She was supported by her motherand the young man she became pregnant with. The social worker alerted policeand the passport office to block Dunne’s departure, and told them the Health& Safety Executive (HSE) did not consent to theissuing of a passportfor her.The HSE’s actions were later criticised by Mr JusticeWilliamMcKechnieas being without any legal foundation.

She took the state tocourt for the right to travel to Britain for an abortion. Her legal case was pittedagainst the right of the fetus to be born. There were protests andcounter-protests. It became a landmark case, which she fought and won anonymouslyas Miss D. The words of praise from MrJusticeMcKechnie,who remarked on the courage and dignity she showedin refusing to allow her case to be “shoehorned” into an “X casescenario” by falsely claiming to be suicidal, are still of comfort to her.

She is now aged 29 andhas a young son who was born a year after the events that took place. Shedecided to reclaim her story – a chronicle of loss, defiance and resilience. “Idon’t want to be defined as the character Miss D,” said Dunne. “What I wanttaken from it are my strong points.” She is described as ardently pro-choice.

SOURCE: TheGuardian, by Rory Carroll, 5 December 2019 ; Finné, TG4/ RTÉ, by Orla McDonnell, 17 October 2019 +PHOTO