01.12.23: Health Minister plans to expand abortion services to five more maternity hospitals from next week

Minister for Health’s plans on hospital abortion expansion can only be achieved through discrimination.

Responding to the announcement today from the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly that he plans to expand abortion to five more maternity hospitals (Kilkenny, Portiuncula, Letterkenny, Wexford and Portlaoise) from 4 December 2023, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:

“The Minister for Health neglects to examine the human impact of his plans on healthcare workers who currently have a right to exercise freedom of conscience. The strategies used to impose abortion on these hospitals most likely involved discrimination in the hiring process of new doctors, inappropriately asking potential candidates whether they would be prepared to perform abortions and hiring candidates accordingly. This places an unfair disadvantage on candidates opposed to performing abortions as part of their medical work, which is a legal right they have.

“Doctors in hospital environments have also been pressured to attend so-called ‘values clarification workshops’, which appear to be little else than efforts to indoctrinate reluctant doctors into agreeing to perform abortions. Pressuring doctors into being involved in the abortion process, which is not healthcare as it is not intended to save a human life but rather to ‘end the life of the foetus’ (as defined in the 2018 Act), amounts to discrimination and an erosion of the promises made in the 2018 referendum that healthcare workers would not be compelled to perform abortions in violation of their ethical principles.

“The Minister needs to stop pretending that abortion services are somehow difficult to access. With unsafe telemedicine in place since 2020, he has recklessly allowed abortion pills to be acquired without any serious safeguards. Meanwhile, GPs have aborted approximately 33,500 babies between 2019 and mid-2022, a figure which does not even include hospital abortions which likely account for a thousand or so abortions every year. When one of his so-called ‘expert’ researchers claimed the abortion system was on the verge of collapse, he rightly contradicted her by coldly pointing to the alarmingly high abortion rate which has spiralled each year – reaching its highest recorded level in 2022, with 2023 on course to potentially break 10,000 abortions. Clearly there is a problem with our runaway abortion rate, and yet Minister Donnelly’s approach is not to address how it can be proactively reduced by providing women in unplanned pregnancies with greater supports; rather he is narrow-mindedly focused on making abortion even more pervasive, irrespective of its impact on the freedom of conscience of healthcare workers.”