Abortion law change to make doctors report woman’s marital status sought

Amendments to record patient’s previous terminations and ethnicity proposed by anti-abortion TDs

The two new amendments seek to make a medical practitioner keep a record of certain information including the age, marital status, ethnicity, gravidity and parity of the pregnant woman. Photograph: iStock

The two new amendments seek to make a medical practitioner keep a record of certain information including the age, marital status, ethnicity, gravidity and parity of the pregnant woman. Photograph: iStock

 

A number of anti-abortion TDs have proposed new changes to the abortion legislation which would require a doctor to report whether a woman had any previous abortions, what age and ethnicity she is and whether she is married.

If a medical practitioner does not do this, they could be fined or jailed for up to five years.

TDs such as Peadar Tóibín and Mattie McGrath submitted further proposed changes to the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill late last week. The Bill is due to be debated in the Dáil later this evening.

The two new amendments seek to make a medical practitioner keep a record of certain information including the age, marital status, ethnicity, gravidity and parity of the pregnant woman.

Gravidity is defined as the number of times that a woman has been pregnant and parity is defined as the number of pregnancies that have been carried to a viable gestational age.

The medical practitioner would also have to provide information on the number of any previous pregnancies resulting in live births, still births over 24 weeks, spontaneous miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and previous abortions.

Information would also be required on the address at which the termination of pregnancy was carried out, and on the length of the pregnancy on the date the termination is carried out.

Doctors would also have to state whether the pregnancy was “singleton or multiple.”

Anti-abortion TDs also want information to be provided on “selective terminations”. Mattie McGrath said selective terminations could include terminations requested on the basis of the gender of the foetus.

Fianna Fail TD Lisa Chambers last week hit out at claims that women would choose to have an abortion on the basis of gender “The suggestion that someone would seek to procure an abortion on the basis of race or sex is an abhorrent one. It is deeply insulting to any woman who finds herself in that situation.”

The amendment further states that “where the termination was a selective termination, the original number of foetuses and the number to which they were reduced” would have to be reported by the doctor.

The practitioner would also have to record information on whether a live birth followed a termination and “if so what the outcome was.”

Information would also have to include whether a woman died as a result of a termination, along with the date and cause of death.

If doctors do not collect this information they will be guilty of an offence which could carry up to five year in jail, or a fine.

The TDs also want the Minister for Health of the day to prepare a yearly report on these notifications.

Independent TD Michael Collins said the new proposed changes were discussed at committee stage, but have now been introduced into the report stage debate in the Dáil which is ongoing.