Amy Dunne, the girl at the centre of the 2007 ‘Miss D’ case, has said her court victory was the beginning of a “new whirlwind of trauma” for her.
Amy’s case hit the headlines around the world when she took the HSE to court after she was refused the right to travel to the UK to access abortion services.
She was just 17 when she was told she was carrying a foetus that would not be able to survive outside the womb.
She was under the care of the HSE at the time and when she asked for support, she was told she could be charged with murder if she travelled to the UK for an abortion.
After contacting a solicitor, she found herself at the heart of a series of emergency court hearings that hit international headlines and eventually contributed to the campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, she said the court decision permitting her to travel to Liverpool was a “heart-breaking” moment.
“I got a phone call to tell me I had ‘won’ as if I should be happy and celebrate,” she said. “But for me, that was the beginning of pressure on my shoulders to make the right decision and I felt like I was out in the big bad world on my own.
“It was very heart-breaking time. My baby was after growing in my stomach, I was feeling her flutter and I didn’t know what I wanted to do any more.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to make the right decision, and nobody was able to step in and guide me, so it was a new whirlwind of trauma for me as well.”
She said the case itself was a “very horrible experience”, with her personal story playing out across protests and news programmes for weeks on end.
“I felt like a little peanut standing in a room where nobody noticed me and the court case wasn’t about myself,” she said.
“It was a very intimidating situation. The courtrooms were packed. It was open court so people from the street were allowed in.
“At one stage, I had a man praying over me and calling me evil and saying I was the devil. I know there was pro-lifers and pro-choice protesting outside but for me, at that age, I didn’t understand which was what.
“All I felt was intimidation that people were shouting outside the court while I was trying to walk in and hide the fact I was Miss D – but at the same time, I was a young girl walking in with a little bump and everybody knew who I was.
“It was a very horrible experience.”
In the end Amy opted for a compassionate induction rather than an abortion, delivering her stillborn daughter Jasmine after a 16-hour labour in a Liverpool hospital.
Not long after coming home to Ireland she became pregnant with her son Adam, a moment she said brought ‘great joy’ back into her life.
“I am so grateful he came along when he did,” said Amy. “God knows where I could have ended up otherwise.”
“Because I had Adam, it gave me a hunger to go back to school. I was back in school within four weeks to get my leaving cert and straight back to college so I could give him the best life he could have.”
It was years later that Amy decided to go public and now, she is telling her story first-hand in her new book, ‘I am Amy Dunne.’
She told Pat that she decided to go public to support other women and to adda human face to the story.
“I feel like, because of the attention I got, I had a bit of a platform and I started to realise that I wasn’t the only girl,” she said.
“I knew as well that putting the face to the name would give people more understanding that I was human and, if anything, would bring some empathy.
“Through that it has helped and I know I am a strong person who likes to fight and I have it in me to speak up for other women so, while given the platform to do so, I will.”
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