The proposal to have a GP-led system providing abortion on request up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy is “the exact opposite” of what healthcare professionals are trained to do, an anti-abortion group has claimed.
The Medical Alliance for the Eighth said the regime proposed in the event of the Eighth Amendment being removed from the Constitution “has nothing to do with healthcare”.
"Abortion is life-ending. It is never life-saving. This proposal is about opening the door to wide-ranging abortion and nothing more," Dr Siobhán Crowley, a GP, told a press conference in Dublin yesterday.
Accompanied by a small group, including obstetrician Dr John Monaghan, Dr Crowley said that "as doctors and as healthcare professionals we believe it is wholly unacceptable and unsafe to hastily push through plans without consideration of the implications".
She added: "In recent days, we've been in touch with GPs, nurses, midwives and other healthcare colleagues around Ireland. We can state confidently that there is widespread opposition and concern within our profession over what the Government is proposing."
Dr Crowley said the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, if a referendum expected to be held in May is carried, would “lead to abortion on demand in Ireland and to an abortion regime that is more extreme than in Britain, where one in five pregnancies end in abortion.”
As doctors, nurses and midwives, she said members of the group could not agree “or be part of a law which would allow the intended targeting of the life of a child”.
“We believe in the need for support and compassion for every woman who finds herself with an unplanned pregnancy, and the need to provide real and positive alternatives to those who feel, for whatever reason, that they cannot cope with or look after a baby,” she said.
Dr Crowley said that while she is “a GP, I’m also a mother, and expecting a baby in the coming weeks. I believe every woman deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the circumstances of her pregnancy.”
It was “reassuring for me to live and practise medicine in a country that has such an outstanding record in protecting the lives of women during pregnancy, and to be the recipient of such high-quality antenatal healthcare,” she said.
Dr Crowley said it was "really important to note that Ireland without abortion is a safer country in which to be pregnant than, for example, England or the US, where widespread abortion is available. "