Every maternity hospital in Ireland now is aborting unborn babies, as the law requires, the country’s health department said this week.
However, medical leaders still are warning that the government did not give them enough time to prepare and resources are “inadequate,” The Independent reports.
The Irish Department of Health said the 19 maternity hospitals now are providing abortions at least at some level, according to The Irish Times.
Ireland’s new abortion law, which was rammed through parliament in December, allows abortions for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances. It also forces taxpayers to pay for abortions and forces Catholic hospitals to provide them. The new law 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.
Leading medical groups in Ireland also have raised major concerns about women’s safety, given the little time and resources that doctors have had to prepare to begin abortions.
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gyaecologists in Ireland met earlier this week to discuss “safety and readiness” after many doctors expressed concerns, according to the Independent.
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Here’s more from the report:
At present, nine of the 19 maternity units and hospitals around the country are providing surgical terminations.
A surgical termination is required after nine weeks of pregnancy while medical abortions – using abortion pills – can be accessed before this time through a woman’s GP.
Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed the number of GPs who have signed up to provide medical abortions has now passed the 200 mark.
The nine hospitals currently offering surgical terminations are the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, and the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin; Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda; University Hospital Galway; Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar; University Maternity Hospital Limerick; Cork University Maternity Hospital; and University Hospital Waterford.
Fewer than 5 percent of doctors in Ireland have told the government that they are willing to abort unborn babies. Abortions became legal on Jan. 1 in Ireland, but 95 percent of doctors are not willing to do them, the Southern Star reports.
While abortion activists blamed a fear of pro-life protests for the lack of abortionists, the more likely reason is simply that most doctors do not think killing a human being should be part of the medical profession.
The National Association of General Practitioners, Ireland’s largest association of GPs, said doctors have serious concerns about a lack of equipment and unclear clinical guidelines for abortions, Euro News reports.
“The National Association of GPs believes that the rushed manner in which termination of pregnancy services are being introduced is unacceptable and unsafe,” it said in a statement last month.
The doctors said pro-abortion Minister for Health Simon Harris was pushing abortion for politically-motivated reasons.
“The women of Ireland will not forgive the health system, if an unsafe service is brought in, for the sake of political expediency,” the doctors said.
Other leading medical professionals also have said the premature start date could put women’s lives at risk. Many hospitals have said they are not ready to begin abortions. They point to a lack of ultrasound machines, clinical guidelines and trained staff as reasons why the government should have delayed legalizing abortion.
Doctors also criticized government guidelines that allow girls ages 15 and under to abort their unborn babies without their parents’ knowledge or consent. One doctor accused the minister for health of taking “leave of his senses” by allowing this.
Southern Star reported problems with the government abortion hotline as well this week.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates have started to peacefully protest at facilities where unborn babies may be aborted. However, abortion activists already are demanding that the government censor pro-life speech by enacting buffer zones around abortion facilities.