Doctors seek consultation with Minister over abortion Bill provisions

Group of GPs concerned with plans to begin abortion services in less than two months

Doctors Kirsten Fuller, Andrew O’Regan and Valerie Morris hold a press conference in Dublin to raise concerns about the Government’s plans for a GP-led abortion service. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A group of anti-abortion doctors has demanded that Minister for Health Simon Harris consults with GPs before legislation providing for a GP-led abortion service is passed by the Oireachtas.

The abortion Bill is being considered by the Oireachtas health committee. But a group of GPs has assembled a petition they say has been signed by 640 of their colleagues and which expresses concerns with the Government’s plans to begin abortion services in less than two months.

Dr Aisling Bastable accused Mr Harris of ignoring the voice of "mainstream general practice", and called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to intervene.

Dr Andrew O’Regan said they had not yet sought a meeting with Mr Martin but intended to do so.


‘Lack of capacity’

“Many GPs on the ground do not believe that general practice is the appropriate setting in which to deliver abortion because of the lack of capacity in an already overstretched environment, lack of training and availability of ultrasound and delivering on genuine freedom of conscience,” they said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris said: “The Minister and the Department of Health will continue to engage with representative organisations of the medical profession. A further meeting of stakeholders is due to take place over the coming days.”

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times