In Ireland, a group of nurses and midwives has joined forces with doctors and announced their refusal to take part in abortion services. They explain that, in the case of surgical abortions, they are supposed to administer pre-surgical care, which they are refusing to do.
Last month, hundreds of doctors spoke out against abortion and expressed their concerns about the new legislation. They called on Health Minister Simon Harris not to rush things (see Abortion in Ireland: doctors ask to include their right to conscientious objection in proposed legislation).
In the draft legislation, conscientious objectors must refer the pregnant woman to a colleague likely to carry out the abortion. For nurses and midwives, this clause is tantamount to “participation in the procedure”. They do not want to participate in abortion, i.e. in any way whatsoever “including supervision, delegation, planning or support of staff involved in an abortion”, announced Mary Fitzgibbon who organised the petition.
They are calling on the Health Minister to consult with them and support the amendments that would protect freedom of conscience. They also believe that they will have to leave the profession if they do not win their case.
Meanwhile, the Irish Family Planning Association has asked for the draft abortion bill to be amended at this point and “legal sanctions” lifted.
The Health Minister explained that the abortion services should be in place for the New Year.