The doctors at one Irish maternity hospital took a stand last week against a new law allowing unborn babies to be aborted in their nation.
In a letter to general practitioners in their area, the four OB-GYNs at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny said they “decided unanimously” not to perform abortions, the Independent reports.
The doctors, Ray O’Sullivan, Raouf Salam, Yuddandi Nagaveni and Trevor Hayes, said they came to the decision after speaking with other hospital staff.
It was “adjudged that, in the event of professional and values training of staff willing to participate in such procedures, the hospital remains an unsuitable location for these services,” they wrote. It was “decided unanimously that the hospital is not an appropriate location for medical or surgical terminations.”
They also assured local doctors that the hospital will continue to provide life-saving care to pregnant women who are suffering from emergency complications, such as sepsis or hemorrhaging, according to the Irish Examiner.
After learning about the letter, abortion activists quickly called on the government to force the doctors and staff at St. Luke’s to abort unborn babies
“Women and pregnant people in these situations are being denied their rights. It is unsurprising that abortion pills continue to be imported illegally despite the change in the law,” said Anna Carnegie, a spokesperson for the Abortion Rights Campaign.
“We call on the government to ensure that safe and legal abortion care is accessible locally throughout the country,” she continued.
Whether the government will force the hospital staff to abort unborn babies against their consciences remains to be seen. Pro-life advocates have expressed concerns about weak conscience protections in the new abortion law, which allows individuals to refuse to provide abortions but not hospitals or other health institutions.
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Currently, 10 of the 19 maternity hospitals in Ireland abort unborn babies, according to the report.
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 also complained that the abortion law was pushed through before hospitals were ready, creating an “unacceptable and unsafe” environment for women in Ireland.
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 reported in January when the law went into effect.
“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.
A number of hospitals initially reported struggles with finding enough staff willing to abort unborn babies.
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 Minister for Health Simon Harris of taking “leave of his senses” by allowing it.
In related news this spring, an Irish couple who aborted their healthy unborn baby after being told the baby tested positive for a fatal fetal anomaly recently filed a complaint against the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, Dublin.
The Independent reports medical professionals who approved the abortion allegedly never examined or even met the mother before she aborted her bab