Provision of abortion services

 

Sir, – Those who are striving to undermine the hard-won right to access abortion services in Ireland are clearly targeting their attempts on the intimidation of GPs who are providing abortion services or undergoing training to that end.

An argument that is being used is that GP services are not the way the service is provided in Britain. It was 1967 that the law was introduced in Britain. Over the 50-odd years since the passing of that legislation – which proved to be critical for hundreds of thousands of women based in Ireland – circumstances have changed radically. If legislation were being passed in Britain today, the new reality of the availability of the abortion pill would have meant a very different law. GPs are now seen as the logical service to support the vast majority of women seeking abortions in a wide range of different countries and by international health agencies.

As to our legislation – while there are some shortcomings – the fact that it is based primarily on GP services is one of its best aspects. Changes need to be made to the restrictive conditions in accessing abortion that are being applied to those carrying extremely serious foetal abnormalities. However, a GP-led service is in the interests of women across this country and it is to be hoped that this service will be available in every single town and county in the near future. – Yours, etc,

URSULA BARRY,

Associate Professor,

School of Social Policy,

Social Work and

Social Justice, UCD.

Sir, – I was delighted to read the letter from the many GPs in Cork who have signed up to provide abortion services (April 19th). The letter was measured, compassionate and factual. We are grateful to the members of the medical profession who so swiftly stepped up to provide care for their patients, care that was denied for too long. We know, however, that what makes many other doctors hesitate to do the same is the fear of harassment from pro-life groups. It is inexcusable that women cannot access a legal medical procedure due to such antics, whose only purpose is to intimidate. The sooner exclusion-zone legislation is introduced the better. Now it’s the Government’s time to step up. – Yours, etc,

INGRID SEIM,

Cork.