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Dad-to-be drops court abortion bid

A MAN has withdrawn a High Court action aimed at stopping his 20-year-old girlfriend from travelling to the UK for an abortion.

The man claimed his girlfriend was being forced to undergo the procedure by her family.

He wanted the court to direct a psychiatric assessment to establish if she was acting of her own free will.

Earlier this week, the man, who is in his 20s, went to court seeking an injunction preventing her from leaving Ireland after he discovered arrangements were made for his girlfriend to have an abortion at a London clinic.

It is understood she is not proceeding with the termination.

Yesterday, when the matter returned before Ms Justice Mary Laffoy, Seamas O Tuathail said his client wished to withdraw his case.

Counsel said the woman had sworn a statement in reply to the man's claims. While no details contained in the statement were revealed in open court, counsel said his client was "happy to put faith" in the statement and "matters would continue as at present in relation to the pregnancy".

The couple, who cannot be identified by order of the court, are both foreign nationals and reside in Ireland.

They sat beside each other and held hands during the short hearing.

RELATIONSHIP

Afterwards, members of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn (SPUC) and Northern Ireland's Precious Life group said they had supported the man in his legal action.

The case arose last Wednesday when the man sought a number of injunctions preventing his girlfriend from travelling to the UK for an abortion.

The court heard the couple at the centre of the case have known each other for a year, but her family have not accepted their relationship.

The man says his girlfriend's family are deeply unhappy with the fact she is in a relationship with someone of non-European origin.

In an affidavit to the court, the man said his girlfriend "is happy to be pregnant" and "never expressed any desire to have an abortion", but added her family are of the view she will be "ruined" if she has a child with "a non-white man".

He said she registered with a maternity hospital, was looking forward to have a cat scan in the near future and had been buying baby clothes for the child.

They had moved in together, at a location away from her family.

However they were harassed by members of her family and in recent days she was forced by her family to leave the house they shared. He also claimed that a member of his girlfriend's family threatened to kill him if he attempted to come near his girlfriend.

hnews@herald.ie