Woman taken off life support after court ruling in Ireland

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DUBLIN (AP) — A brain-dead pregnant woman in Ireland has been taken off life support. This, after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus can't survive for the extra two months that would be needed to be delivered safely.

The court today said that all artificial support for the woman should end, more than three weeks after she was declared clinically dead.

The woman's relatives then gathered at a hospital in the Irish Midlands to bid farewell.

The court case exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's strict ban on abortion in an age of medical innovation.

In their ruling, the three judges on the Dublin High Court accepted testimony from seven doctors who said the woman's body was becoming an environment that would be lethal to the fetus.

The nation's Supreme Court was put on standby for an appeal -- but lawyers representing the rights of the woman and of the fetus said they accepted the ruling.

Ireland has the strictest abortion ban in Europe, a reflection of the country's heavily Roman Catholic population. But Dublin's archbishop had suggested before the decision came down that he would have no objection to removing life support.

The woman sustained a severe head injury in a fall. She had already been hospitalized after doctors found a cyst in her brain.

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