Doctors and conscientious objection
Sir, – At no point in Dr Tom O’Dowd’s letter (October 8th) does he acknowledge the difficulty many doctors and other healthcare workers have with the idea of ending the life of the foetus, which is precisely the “legally approved service” being proposed in legislation currently before the Dáil. This is not about doctors refusing treatment because of their personal whims, such as “strong views about smoking” or “anecdotally attributed harms” or even misinformation about drug rehabilitation programmes. This is about deliberately ending a life.
There are many doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who do not view abortion as a medical treatment and who will therefore not participate. Dr O’Dowd is correct in stating that there are many individual rights which doctors do indeed surrender for the sake of their patients. Freedom of conscience is not one of them. – Yours, etc,
Dr ORLA HALPENNY,