Sir, – I foresee enormous problems in the implementation of a new abortion service in Ireland.
Each family doctor may be entitled to opt out of the new termination of pregnancy service on conscience grounds, so that a doctor who is already too busy with other work will be able to use the conscience clause to avoid the extra volume that the repeal of the Eighth Amendment will bring. It may happen that in a particular area every doctor will opt out, forcing the patient to travel elsewhere to find a compliant doctor.
These compliant doctors will, in turn, be swamped with work, and will sooner or later opt out also. They also risk being labelled locally as the abortion doctors.
Hospitals will have difficulty dealing with the new patients using current facilities and staffing levels, and clearly it won’t be possible to place terminations on a waiting list.
The third option for women, that of attending a dedicated abortion clinic, will be difficult in Ireland for cultural, security and other reasons, so that I foresee that many women will still have to go to the UK for a service, and little will have changed for them. – Yours, etc,