An Irishwoman whose fetus bore a fatal heart defect has filed a United Nations petition against Ireland because the predominantly Catholic country outlaws abortions in such circumstances.

Amanda Mellet fought back tears at a Dublin press conference Wednesday where details of her petition to the U.N. Human Rights Committee were revealed.

The 38-year-old says her was diagnosed in November 2011 with Edwards' syndrome, which causes lethal mutations in the heart and other organs.

She traveled to England for an abortion after doctors said she couldn't receive one in Ireland.

Mellet's is the first of three Irish cases being filed with the United Nations seeking to build international pressure on Ireland to permit abortions in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities.

Ireland permits abortion only to save the woman's life.