Pregnant Irish Woman Removed from Life Support

The family of a brain-dead woman who was 18 weeks pregnant was granted a court order to have her removed from life support, the Guardian (UK) reported in December. Her physicians had refused to comply with the family’s request, citing fear of-prosecution. Three medical experts testified that the fetus would face health problems if it survived.

One of the judges, Mr. Justice Nicholas Kearns, said the court “is satisfied, in the circumstances of this case, that it is in the best interests of the unborn child; it should authorise at the discretion of the medical team the withdrawal of ongoing somatic support being provided in this tragic and unfortunate case.”

“From the point of view of Catholic teaching on general medical ethics, there is no obligation to use extraordinary means to maintain a life. That applies both to the woman and to the child.” said Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, according to the Irish Independent.

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