Abortion in Ireland: doctors ask to include their right to conscientious objection in proposed legislation



Under the current abortion bill, refusing to refer patients to doctors willing to perform abortions would "be a breach of the law". While the law allows conscientious objection and allows doctors to refuse to perform abortions, it obliges them to " make such arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as may be necessary to enable the woman to avail of the termination of pregnancy concerned"[1].

 

Medical Alliance for the Eighth, representing health professionals who oppose abortion, called on the government to "extend protections for conscientious objectors to doctors who refuse referrals". "If medical practitioners, nurses and midwives were opposed abortion, then they would be unwilling to be involved in the process", explained Dr O'Regan, who is based in Killarney, considering that abortion "goes against [his] entire conscience and [...] everything that [he] understand[s] as good healthcare". The doctor also added: "The big buzz word during the campaign was choice. What about the choice of the doctors who say this isn’t what we signed up for? "

 

Doctors for Life, another group of doctors who campaigned for the No vote, said that if the government agreed to expand rights to contentious objection, it would be "a clear voice for those healthcare professionals who do not wish to use their skills against the weakest members of society, of any age". "We will not perform any action to deliberately end the life of any of our patients", communicated the group.

 

[1] Head 15, General Scheme of a Bill to Regulate Termination of Pregnancy


Sources: 

Irish Times, Simon Carswell (28/05/2018)