Abortion job requirements ‘undermine’ maternal healthcare, bishops warn

Abortion job requirements ‘undermine’ maternal healthcare, bishops warn Bishop Kevin Doran

Making a willingness to perform abortions a job requirement for consultant doctors threatens the training and recruiting of hospital staff, Ireland’s bishops have said.

In a statement following the Spring 2019 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the hierarchy “noted with regret the pre-conditions for applicants listed in the recent advertisement for a post of a Consultant in Obstetrics/Gynaecology and for a post of Consultant in Anaesthesia at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin”.

Observing that one of the main preconditions for applicants to both positions was a willingness to carry out elective abortions, the bishops said “this precondition runs totally counter to a doctor’s constitutional and human right to freedom of conscience”.

Pointing out that conscientious objection to the abortion of unborn human beings would bar consultants from important roles in maternity care, the bishops warned this could block experienced and talented doctors who might otherwise be the best applicants for positions from being considered for the roles.

“This totally undermines the whole concept of freedom of conscience which was guaranteed in the recent legislation,” they continued. “The consequence for the entire training and recruitment of doctors to work in these positions in hospitals in Ireland is greatly undermined by these advertisements.”

As part of the spring meeting the bishops also appointed members to the hierarchy’s newly-appointed Council for Life. Elphin’s Bishop Kevin Doran will be the council’s chairman and Fr Dermot Meehan, Administrator of the Diocese of Achonry, has also been appointed as a member.

“The council will give priority to exploring how best, in the current socio-cultural context, the Catholic community can offer practical support to women in crisis pregnancy, giving their unborn babies the best chance at life,” Bishop Doran said. “It will also give priority to promoting an understanding of life questions among young people and to engaging them in the challenge of defending life.”