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A woman who became pregnant after marrying an Irish man was forced by her “violent and abusive” husband to have the baby aborted in a Manchester clinic, the High Court was told today Friday.
Barrister Shannon Michael Haynes told the court the woman (30), who is from an African country and cannot be identified for legal reasons, is now under threat of deportation.
She was seeking leave to challenge the legality of a decision of the Minister for Justice refusing her permission to remain in Ireland.
Mr Haynes said the woman obtained a divorce because of her husband’s abusive behaviour, which led to the breakdown of their marriage. Gardaí twice had to be called to their home because of his violence towards her, he said.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott heard that the woman came to Ireland on a tourist visa in 2009 before obtaining a study visa. Her status changed to that of a spouse of an Irish citizen following her marriage several years ago when she was granted “Stamp 4” conditions of residency.
Mr Haynes said the man was particularlyabusive after the woman became pregnant. He put extreme pressure on her to terminate the pregnancy.
“He had arranged everything from the flight ticket to the clinic procedure because I wanted to keep my baby and had categorically refused to have an abortion,” the woman said in a sworn statement.
She told the court that her having the abortion was something she found difficult to talk about and that she was deeply ashamed of.
The woman said her husband continued to be hostile about it and threatened to end their relationship and have her immigration status cancelled. Her father in law was also abusive to her and often called her “a black bitch.”
Mr Haynes told the court that following the woman’s abortion her mental health suffered and the marriage was dissolved. She returned to her home country to recover with the help of her family and came back to Ireland later through Northern Ireland.
While in Ireland she sought to renew her visa which was refused and she failed in an appeal of the decision. She was in a happy relationship with a new partner in Ireland.
Mr Haynes said that on July 26th his client received a letter telling her the Minister for Justice and Law Reform proposed to make a deportation order against her on the basis she had no current permission to remain in the State and that her deportation would be conducive to the common good.
The judge said he would grant the woman leave to judicially review the refusals and the Minister’s deportation order, which he placed a stay on until the hearing the judicial review is heard in October.
The woman is seeking to quash the Minister’s refusal of her application for a change in her immigration status and his decision to deport her. She also seeks a declaration that it is unlawful to impose a requirement as to duration of joint residence on victims of domestic violence who were married to an Irish citizen.