Irish leaders are moving forward this week with plans to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.
Officials with the Ireland Department of Health and the Irish Medical Organisation are discussing abortion fees and the number of required abortion appointments prior to a final vote on a bill to legalize abortion in Ireland, The Irish Times reports.
Lawmakers plan to vote soon on the radical pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. 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 who refuse to abort unborn babies still will be forced to refer women to doctors who do.
Last week, the Oireachtas Health Committee rejected nearly 200 amendments, many of which would have provided at least some protections for unborn babies. Now, Irish government leaders are debating details of the bill, including how much to pay doctors who abort unborn babies.
The Independent reports the fee is expected to be about €400 ($450) per abortion, paid for by taxpayers. Women will not have to pay anything to abort their unborn babies.
The amount has not been finalized yet, but it will include two or three visits to a doctor, according to the report. Health department officials said they expect to finalize plans Wednesday.
Here’s more from the report:
In practice GPs are expected to provide a medical abortion up to nine weeks of pregnancy.
Women who are between nine and 12 weeks pregnant will have a medical abortion in a maternity unit.
It is understood the €400 fee would be all-in and include the cost of all GP visits, including the medication. …
There remains the potential problems to be faced if a significant minority of GPs object to referring a woman to another doctor for a termination on the grounds of conscientious objection.
Around three-quarters of GPs said during a consultation with the Irish College of General Practitioners that they would not be providing the service.
Nearly 900 pro-life doctors in Ireland could be forced to participate in unborn babies’ abortion deaths against their will if the legislation passes as-is.
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 in Ireland. An October poll by Amárach found that a full 80 percent of Irish respondents say 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.”
Many pro-life TDs say the legislation is much more radically pro-abortion than what voters expected when they chose to repeal the pro-life Eighth Amendment in May.