The High Court in Ireland has ruled that life support for a brain-dead pregnant mother of two can be switched off. The case had been seen as a crucial challenge to the Irish constitution, which gives a mother and an unborn child equal rights, but the court found today that there was in fact no genuine prospect that keeping the pregnant woman alive would lead to the birth of a live baby, and has authorised the equipment to be turned off. Doctors had kept the woman alive due to fears of being prosecuted for abortion, despite the fact that the woman’s family—who brought the case to court—said they wanted her taken off life support. The woman was pronounced clinically dead on Dec. 3, and the court was told that she was displaying puffiness of the torso, had an open head wound, a rotting brain, and several infections. The decision will not be appealed, lawyers acting for the unborn child said.
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