Dozens of Irish doctors walked out of an emergency meeting about abortion Sunday after they said their concerns about conscience protections are being ignored.
About 300 doctors attended the meeting by the Irish College of General Practitioners EGM in Dublin to discuss the government’s plans to legalize abortions starting Jan. 1, 2019, NewsTalk reports.
Dozens walked out after complaining that leaders have been ramming through the pro-abortion legislation without consulting the medical community or giving it ample time to prepare. Many doctors also fear being forced to help abort unborn babies against their consciences.
Dr. Andrew O’Regan, speaking for the GPs who walked out, said the meeting Sunday did nothing to address their concerns, the Irish Independent reports.
“The very false impression has been created [by] the Minister for Health that general practice is a suitable setting for abortion provision,” O’Regan said. “There are a whole spectrum of opinions within our grouping that left this meeting. People who felt differently about the abortion referendum but people that are united in that we have not been listened to and that we have not been genuinely engaged with in a respectful, democratic way.”
Dr. Illona Duffy, an OB-GYN, said the Irish health system is not ready to begin providing abortions on Jan. 1, the date when the government wants every maternity hospital to start aborting unborn babies.
Duffy told Breaking News Ireland that government leaders have not given them many details or involved them in plans to legalize abortion.
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Here’s more from the report:
Dr Duffy said: “Ireland is one of the only countries where abortion services will be through GPs, it is usually through clinics. In most countries patients self-refer to clinics.”
There is a concern that GPs are already under pressure and this is an attempt to provide the service “on the cheap”.
She said: “GPs will be left dealing with this complicated process. This is being done without consultation and without taking our concerns into consideration.”
More than 640 general practitioners also signed a petition calling the pro-abortion legislation a “serious crisis,” according to the Connacht Tribune.
Fiona McHugh of Nurses and Midwives 4 Life told reporters that her group, which represents hundreds of medical workers, also has major concerns about the legislation. She said pro-abortion Health Minister Simon Harris has kept them “utterly in the dark,” though they repeatedly have asked to meet with him.
“We’ve had no meetings with Minister Harris at all …” McHugh said. “This service is to be rolled out in January and any service that is new to healthcare, there would be talk about how this is going to happen, you’d have to work through a process.
“None of this has happened, we’re completely and utterly in the dark,” she said.
Last week, the Dáil debated the pro-abortion bill, which 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. TDs rejected a series of amendments that would have provided at least some protections for unborn babies and taxpayers.
Hundreds of Irish doctors, nurses and midwives have been urging the health minister to meet with them to address a severe lack of conscience protections in the law. Without added protections, medical workers could be forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
The bill would force Catholic hospitals and pregnancy centers to promote or provide abortions against their consciences as well. In September, Harris confirmed that Catholic hospitals will be forced to abort unborn babies, saying, “… conscientious objection is for individuals, not institutions.”
An October poll by Amárach found that 60 percent of Irish residents oppose taxpayer-funded abortions. In addition, a full 80 percent say health care workers should not be forced to carry out abortions against their conscience.