Conscientious objectors should not be obliged to facilitate abortion – PLC

Conscientious objectors should not be obliged to facilitate abortion – PLC Baroness Nuala O’Loan

A pro-life group have pledged they will pressure legislators to make provisions for doctors to opt out of providing abortion on conscientious objection grounds, regardless of whether they are asked to facilitate abortions directly or indirectly.

The Love Both campaign revealed at a press conference that they will be making a case for the law to extend to doctors who are being asked to refer patients who request abortions to specialists.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan has warned that Irish medical professionals working in obstetrics may be pressured to perform abortions in order to progress in their career.

Currently Baroness O’Loan is attempting to introduce the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill in the UK, which aims to prohibit discrimination against medical professionals who object on conscience grounds to indirect participation in abortions or the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

This comes as a row began between the National Association of GPs (NAGP) and the Health Minister Simon Harris over the weekend after he tweeted “doctors will always be able to opt out and conscientious objection is a long standing principle in medicine”, but that the Eighth Amendment was repealed so that “we could care for women in our own country and that duty of care in terms of referral will definitely apply”.

Chair of the NAGP, Dr Andrew Jordan, said he believed there would be enough GPs willing to refer patients, and women would have enough options despite conscientious objectors.

The Love Both campaign released a list of eight ‘basic principles’ they believe should be adopted by the Government when they are legislating to allow for abortion in Ireland.

This includes the availability and promotion of counselling services for women with unplanned pregnancies, if there’s a risk the unborn child may experience pain they should be given pain relief, and that healthcare professionals should strive to “preserve the lives of babies born alive following abortion”.

They also highlighted there should be “no prenatal discrimination against unborn babies, for example, on the basis of sex or disability”.