“I called the police when I found my housemate’s baby in a bin after DIY abortion”
6 April 2016
"The abuse we are getting is just awful ... the baby had hands, feet, all its facial features, its little nose"
The housemates of a woman who has been prosecuted in Northern Ireland for performing a 'DIY abortion' have spoken out after being vilified online.
The 21-year-old, who cannot be named because of a court order, was sharing a house in South Belfast with the two women when she became pregnant in 2014. Saying that she could not afford to travel to England for an abortion, the woman, who was 19 at the time, bought abortion pills online and used them to kill her unborn child by inducing a miscarriage.
She was given a suspended prison sentence on Monday by Judge McFarland at Belfast Crown Court.
Housemates speak out
The case has been widely publicised in the media this week, with pro-abortion activists and groups using it to argue for the introduction of abortion-on-demand in Northern Ireland.
However, her housemates have spoken out to explain why they contacted the police after their friend performed an abortion on herself, and how seeing the body of her baby boy has scarred them mentally. Both have requested to remain anonymous after being targeted by online trolls.
"She just didn't want to know"
One of the housemates told the Belfast Telegraph she was so badly affected by the events that she had to receive counselling. The 38-year-old woman also revealed how she had offered to care for her friend’s child if she still did not want the baby after giving birth:
"She called the baby 'the pest' and kept saying she just wanted rid of it. She said: 'I don't want this inside me.' I offered a number of times to become legal guardian to the child. I myself had just had a miscarriage.
"I really tried to help her. I talked through a number of options but she just didn't want to know," said the Belfast woman.
"There was the baby in the bin"
"She said she was going to order these pills online. I tried to talk her out of it. She didn't tell us they had arrived. The first I knew that she had taken them was on the Friday night when she said she was getting awful cramps."
She said she told the young woman not to cut the cord and advised her to get medical treatment, but she refused. "A couple of hours later she came down carrying a plastic bag. I couldn't bring myself to ask what she had done with the baby. After my own miscarriage my mind wasn't in a good place," said the woman.
She added: "A bit later I was going to put rubbish out in the bin and there was the bag. When my other housemate came home on the Sunday we went and looked in the bag in the bin. There was the baby on a towel.
"Even now I feel sick"
"Even now I just have a picture in my mind of it.
"Even now I feel sick. It has done so much damage to me mentally.
"It is something I can't get out of my head. On bin collection day I couldn't bring myself to put the bin out for collection. I didn't want to throw a baby away. I didn't know what to do."
"It was as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing"
She said she was upset by the woman's attitude towards the termination. "This isn't anything to do with the rights and wrongs of abortion ... This is about her attitude. It was as if she was getting rid of a piece of clothing," she stated.
"There was absolutely no remorse. Even the way she was up and away out and doing her own thing a day after the abortion, while me and our other house-mate just walked around in shock.
"We tried to help her. She was given lots of different options. We even tried to talk to her family to get them to help her, but we didn't know them and she wouldn't give us their contact details. People are saying we contacted police out of malice. That's not true," she added.
"No sign of remorse at all"
The second housemate, aged 22, said she has not been able to put the events behind her and has also been receiving internet abuse .
"We tried so hard to support her when she told us about the pregnancy but it made me so angry when she kept calling it 'the pest'. Then, after the abortion, she showed no remorse. It was so weird the way she reacted to what had happened," said the woman.
She added: "I tried to be nice to her. My mum took her own life when I was 17 and I knew how badly that affected me, so I thought that something that bad must have affected her. But really there was no sign of remorse at all, her attitude really got to me.
"I asked her why she wouldn't give the baby a proper burial and she said 'do you want me to put it in a bag and throw it up the street?' I was so angry at her attitude. I eventually cracked up and told a friend. I was a frantic mess. He was shocked and told me I had to contact the police.
"It is just insane the way we are being portrayed as being the bad ones in this. The abuse we are getting is just awful. People are accusing us of having no compassion for not getting her help. But she begged and pleaded with us not to tell anyone.
"This isn't a debate about the rights and wrongs of abortion. The way this was done was wrong. The baby had hands, feet, all its facial features, its little nose. I can't stop thinking that it might have been alive when it was born. It is awful," she said.