Leo Varadkar has called the case of a young girl who was detained in a psychiatric unit after seeking an abortion "disturbing".
The newly elected Fine Gael leader said: "I have heard those reports, and they're certainly worrying and very disturbing", before adding that he didn't want to comment on individual cases that he did not have detailed knowledge on.
— Christina Finn (@christinafinn8) June 12, 2017
The Dublin West TD also said that "decisions on whether somebody needs to be sectioned are a matter for doctors and patients, and a decision on whether someone needs a termination to protect their life is a matter for doctors and not a matter for politicians."
Varadkar has said in the past that he is not in favour of abortion on request but is in favour where rape or risks to health are concerned, saying he finds the topic "very difficult".
The pregnant girl in question was held under the Mental Health Act after she thought she was being transferred to Dublin for a termination, according to a case published by the Child Care Law Reporting Project.
A consultant psychiatrist gave evidence that the patient did not have a mental health disorder, and although she was at risk of self-harm and suicide, said that an abortion was “not the solution for all the child’s problems at this stage.”
Another consultant psychiatrist was of the opinion that the girl was depressed, but was "dealing with her depression well" and agreed that there was no evidence of a mental health disorder.
A District Court judge discharged the order detaining the girl under the Mental Health Act, as she did not suffer from a mental health disorder. It is unknown whether the girl was able to get a termination or not.