At their annual general meeting in Maynooth, the Irish Catholic Bishops reacted to last month’s announcement made by the National Maternity Hospital. The hospital said it will only accept doctors willing to perform abortions as it seeks to recruit an anaesthetist and an obstetrician/gynaecologist (see Irish hospital posts not open to doctors who are conscientious objectors). In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the bishops accused the hospital of violating freedom of conscience, a constitutional right guaranteed by Irish law. They claim that this precondition for recruiting doctors will compromise the quality of candidates selected.
A spokesperson for the National Maternity Hospital replied that “the conscientious objection guidelines for staff remain unchanged,” and that this recruitment only concerns posts for which the hospital receives specific funding to carry out abortions.