Ireland Committee Votes to Force Pro-Life Doctors to Refer Women for Abortions

International   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 9, 2018   |   10:52AM   |   Dublin, Ireland

The news out of Ireland keeps getting worse.

This week, the Oireachtas Health Committee slammed down dozens of amendments to moderate a radically pro-abortion bill. First, it rejected a measure to protect unborn babies from discriminatory sex-selection abortions. Then, it voted down a ban on taxpayer-funded elective abortions.

And Thursday, it voted to force pro-life doctors to refer women for abortions, The Times reports.

The pro-abortion bill contains very few conscience protections for medical professionals and even fewer for unborn babies. The bill would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances in Ireland. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals.

Doctors for Freedom of Conscience urged Irish leaders to add more conscience protections on behalf of hundreds of Irish doctors, according to the BBC. But their concerns were rejected by the committee Thursday. The amendment that they voted down would have given doctors the right to refuse to refer a woman for an abortion.

Now, nearly 900 pro-life general practitioners could be forced to participate in unborn babies’ abortion deaths against their will.

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A recent survey by the Irish College of General Practitioners found that about 25 percent of its 3,500 members would prefer not to refer a woman to another doctor for an abortion, according to the Irish Independent. An additional 43 percent said they would refuse to abort unborn babies themselves but they would refer a woman to another doctor who would.

There is wide public support for conscience protections as well. An October poll by Amárach found that a full 80 percent of Irish respondents said health care workers should not be forced to carry out abortions against their conscience. An additional 60 percent opposed taxpayer-funded abortions.

Catholic hospitals and pregnancy centers also will be forced to promote or provide abortions against their consciences. In September, pro-abortion Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed that Catholic hospitals will be forced to abort unborn babies, saying, “… conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.”

The committee also rejected an amendment to ban sex-selection abortions, an amendment to prohibit taxpayer-funded elective abortions and another requiring the dignified disposal of aborted babies bodies by cremation or burial.

Many pro-life TDs have said the legislation is much more radically pro-abortion than what voters expected when they chose to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment in May.

“It is also important to note that the 34 per cent of the population that voted to retain the Eighth Amendment plus the 20 per cent of Yes voters who don’t agree with this bill should have a voice in the Oireachtas,” said TD Peadar Toibín, who was suspended by his party last week for voting pro-life. “It is reasonable that TDs should give voice to the opposing views on Simon Harris’s abortion bill in roughly the proportion that exists in society. There is no better way to push voters to the extreme than to deny them a legitimate democratic voice.”

Irish lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill soon. Pro-abortion government leaders have said they hope the legislation will pass before the end of the year.