Human Rights

Survey: Majority of doctors in Ireland refuse to commit abortions

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In May 2018, the formerly pro-life country of Ireland voted to legalize abortion, with estimates of an additional 10,000 preborn children now being targeted for death through abortion. Doctors there were, even prior to this, legally able to perform any procedures to save the life of the mother, including for life-threatening complications such as pre-eclampsia and cancer. In addition, Ireland was ranked by the United Nations as one of the safest countries in the world to have a baby, though abortion was illegal there at the time.

But it has taken less than a year for extremism to seep in. Irish politicians took just one day to announce that all abortions would be taxpayer-funded, and that all publicly-funded health care entities would be expected to commit abortions, leading Catholic hospitals to announce that they would continue to prohibit abortion from being committed there. Now, a new survey of Irish doctors has found that a majority say they will not commit abortions.

Over 3,500 members of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) responded to a survey asking if they would be willing to commit abortions, and only 32% answered yes. 43% said they wouldn’t “due to concerns regarding capacity, resources or conscientious objection, but are willing to refer to another colleague,” while 25% said they not only would not commit abortions, but would also not refer to an abortionist.

The ICGP also released a statement saying that no doctor should be forced to commit abortions if they do not want to.

READ: Extreme: Ireland officials will force taxpayers to fund all abortions

Some doctors have criticized Health Minister Simon Harris, with 640 claiming they have “lost faith” in him. “Instead of reaching out to the hundreds of GPs, Minister Harris has adopted an utterly dismissive tone from the get-go,” Dublin doctor Aisling Bastible said. Pro-life doctor Andrew O’Regan agreed. “No matter what your stance on abortion, you would surely expect the minister to consult with GPs on the ground before legislating,” he said. “General practice is at maximum capacity, we have a big problem trying to recruit GPs and now the government are saying, ‘We want you to do this as well’, it’s just not on.”

“The referendum was about choice, what about our choice?” he continued. “There’s plenty of doctors willing to do this, we don’t want to block those doctors but don’t force us to be part of it.”

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