Irish medical students to observe abortions


A sexual health charity in Britain has confirmed it is offering placements to Irish medical students to observe abortion procedures and gain experience in abortion care and pregnancy options counselling.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said students would “have the opportunity to gain an insight into the many and varied reasons why women may present with an unplanned pregnancy or a pregnancy which cannot be carried to term”.

During placement at the charity’s largest London clinic, students will also gain experience of other services including advising on contraception and fitting contraceptive devices, testing for and treating sexually transmitted diseases. The placement will also include a half day learning about the issues facing couples who receive a diagnosis of foetal abnormality.

Three Irish students have so far signed up for the week-long internships at the clinic, where abortions are carried out at up to 24 weeks’ gestation, and they will observe about 50 procedures during the week, a spokeswoman said.

Dr Richard Lyus, a mentor for students undertaking the placement, said doctors in Ireland might be called on to assist a woman whose life was threatened by her pregnancy, or to provide information to a woman considering abortion overseas.

“We hope these placements will give Ireland’s next generation of doctors an important insight into the needs of women in this situation, which they can make use of in the course of their careers,” he said.