Abortion politics are nearing a boiling point in Ireland as hundreds of doctors, nurses and midwives say pro-abortion politicians have repeatedly ignored their concerns.
Parliament is getting close to passing a 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 like them.
Government leaders want medical workers to be ready to begin aborting unborn babies Jan. 1, 2019, but the medical community is pushing back.
The Irish Examiner reports about 500 nurses and midwives signed a petition to Health Minister Simon Harris urging him to support better conscience protections. They said they are afraid of being forced out of their profession because they do not want to participate in the killing of unborn babies.
Leaders of Nurses and Midwives 4 Life, which began the petition, said they asked to meet with Harris, but he has not responded to their repeated requests.
“We’ve had no meetings with Minister Harris at all …” spokeswoman Fiona 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.
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In a letter to the pro-abortion leader, they described their concerns:
“Nurses and midwives who do not want to participate in abortions are extremely concerned in relation to Section 24(3) of the bill which states *Section 24 (3) A person who has a conscientious objection referred to in subsection (1) shall, as soon as may be, make such arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned as may be necessary to enable the woman to avail of the termination of pregnancy concerned.
“We are appalled that humane amendments in relation to pain relief for late abortions, resuscitation measures where a baby survives an abortion, the exclusion of disability, race or gender as grounds for abortion, parental notification and dignified disposal of remains have not been supported by any Fine Gael TDs.”
The letter comes just a few days after dozens of doctors stormed out of an emergency meeting about the abortion legislation. They said political leaders have been ramming through the bill 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.
“Ireland is one of the only countries where abortion services will be through GPs [general practitioners], it is usually through clinics. In most countries patients self-refer to clinics,” said Dr. Illona Duffy, an OB-GYN.
“GPs will be left dealing with this complicated process. This is being done without consultation and without taking our concerns into consideration,” she said.
More than 640 general practitioners also signed a petition calling the pro-abortion legislation a “serious crisis,” according to the Connacht Tribune.
Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports government leaders admitted this week that ethical guidelines for doctors on abortion will not be ready by Jan. 1.
Last week, when the Dáil debated the pro-abortion bill, TDs rejected a series of amendments that would have provided at least some protections for unborn babies, including a ban on sex-selection abortions and a ban on taxpayer-funded abortions. Debate continues this week.
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.