Human Rights

Pro-abortion Irish lawmakers ignore conscience rights for health workers

conscience protections, abortion, born alive

Nurses&Midwives4Life Ireland, a group of pro-life medical professionals, say that pro-abortion politicians have refused to meet with them to discuss their concerns about inadequate conscience protections for pro-life nurses and midwives. As Ireland pushes through legislation legalizing elective abortion in Ireland, pro-life medical professionals have voiced concerns over the lack of conscientious objection measures in the bill.

In a Facebook post, Nurses&Midwives4Life Ireland thanked their supporters for the 500 nurses and midwives who signed on to a petition delivered to Ireland’s Minister of Health Simon Harris requesting that they not be forced to participate in abortions after the procedure is offered as part of the nation’s healthcare system beginning January 1.

The letter, which the group sent to Harris on November 27, printed in full in the Irish Examiner, reads:

We are dedicated, hardworking nurses and midwives who care for patients from conception to natural death. We have a conscientious commitment to life which accords with the values inherent in Our Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. We respect and defend the dignity of every stage of human life and we have a responsibility to make every valid or reasonable effort to protect the life and health of pregnant women and their unborn babies.

The letter goes on to stipulate specific concerns with the current legislation as drafted and continues:

For us as nurses and midwives participation in termination of pregnancy defined in relation to a pregnant woman, as a medical procedure which is intended to end the life of a foetus, is morally objectionable and conflicts with our conscientious commitment to life.

Participation includes any supervision, delegation, planning or supporting of staff involved in termination of pregnancy. We do not want to be discriminated against by our employers or victimised as employees if we exercise our right to freedom of conscience.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, the group said they have not received a response from Harris or any other pro-abortion politicians regarding their concerns.

In their campaign, Nurses&Midwives4Life have pointed to the case of Mary Doogan and Connie Wood, two pro-life midwives in Scotland who lost their legal battle to avoid supervising other midwives who commit abortions on the grounds of conscientious objection. As drafted, Ireland’s abortion legislation gives no assurance that the same could not happen to pro-life midwives in Ireland in the coming year.

Pro-abortion politicians in Ireland also rejected legislation protecting born-alive infants and disabled preborn babies.

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