Within a week, girls ages 15 and under will be able to abort their unborn babies in Ireland without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
Irish political leaders rammed through a radical pro-abortion law earlier this month to legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. Parliament rejected a number of amendments to the law, including parental consent requirements for minors.
This week, Irish doctors expressed major concerns with the lack of parental involvement in young girls’ abortions, Irish Central reports. One doctor even accused Minister for Health Simon Harris of taking “leave of his senses.”
“No doctor in his right mind would undertake a termination in these circumstances without getting a legal ruling. There has been no significant discussion of these issues,” the doctor said.
Harris, a leading force behind the pro-abortion law, promised to issue abortion guidelines for doctors last week after President Michael D. Higgins signed the law. The guidelines include instructions for doctors dealing with young girls who want to abort their unborn babies.
Here’s more from the report:
As per the guidelines, girls under the age of 15 will be able to access abortion services without the consent of their parents only in “exceptional circumstances.” In such cases, a doctor will have to complete an assessment. …
The guidelines also indicate that girls aged 16-17 who are seeking an abortion but do not want to involve an adult will be able to get one without any restriction as to circumstances. Doctors can proceed “only if they are confident that you [the patient] understand the information and you can give valid consent.”
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A question-and-answer section in the guidelines says: “Young people, aged under 18 years, are encouraged to involve their parents or another supportive adult.”
As per current Irish law, doctors must report to Tusla (the Child and Family agency in Ireland) the following instances: girls 14 or younger who have engaged in sexual activity; girls 15 or 16 who have engaged in sexual activity with someone at least two years older; girls who are 17 or younger whom the doctor suspects risk of being sexually abused or harmed.
Even doctors who support legalized abortion are criticizing the lack of parental involvement for underage girls, the Irish Times reports.
“To receive this 10 days before the service is introduced is deeply disturbing,” another doctor said. “This has not been widely discussed by clinicians.”
Major concerns about the safety of women and girls are piling up. Leading medical professionals have said the government’s Jan. 1 start date for abortions could put women’s lives at risk, and many hospitals have said they are not ready. They pointed to a lack of ultrasound machines, clinical guidelines and trained staff as reasons for delay, but pro-abortion political leaders have refused to back down.
Dr. Sharon Sheehan, who runs Coombe Hospital in Dublin, one of the largest maternity hospitals in Ireland, has said they are not ready. Sheehan urged Harris to put off the start date until February or March, RTE reports.
Even the Irish Family Planning Association, which lobbied for the pro-abortion law and has been preparing to begin abortions since May, said it may not be ready to start Jan. 1 either.
“[Abortions] can only begin as planned if the medication and pregnancy tests are supplied on time, and the protocols for rhesus testing and the provision of anti-D are finalised,” IFPA medical director Dr. Caitriona Henchion admitted last week.
The legislation, which passed parliament earlier this month, will force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals, and hundreds of doctors and nurses fear being forced to help abort unborn babies or lose their jobs.
Pro-life advocates have vowed to continue working hard to protect unborn babies and mothers, despite the new law.
“We have to face the sad reality that Ireland now has one of the most extreme abortion laws anywhere in the world and a government that can’t bring themselves to show even a hint of mercy towards unborn babies or concern for the many women who deeply regret their abortions,” Dr. Ruth Cullen of the Pro Life Campaign said last week.
Just how many unborn babies may be killed in Ireland annually is uncertain, but about 3,000 Irish women travel to England or Wales every year for abortions, according to government statistics.