By Dave Andrusko
The response in the medical community in Northern Ireland to Tuesday’s decriminalization of abortion is already manifesting itself.
As NRL News Today reported in many posts, a governmental stand-off allowed the British Parliament to impose a radical new abortion law allowing the destruction of unborn life through at least the seventh month on a nation that has been traditionally very pro-life.
Writing for The Independent, “Women’s Correspondent” Maya Oppenheim reported Wednesday that Andrew Cupples, a Northern Ireland GP, “has written a letter to the Northern Ireland Secretary which has been signed by 911 medical professionals” calling “for a guarantee they will not have to either carry out or help with abortions.”
Dr. Cupples told Oppenheim, “Hundreds of healthcare professionals in northern Ireland will refuse to be involved in abortion services. There are even people who are planning to walk away from the healthcare service if they are forced to participate in abortion services.” He added, “There are also people in obstetrics and gynaecology and midwives who are worried if they do not agree to be trained in abortion they could be forced to do so or reprimanded by their employers or a professional body.”
Oppenheim explained just how far the government is willing to go to “implement” the new law.
A 12-week public consultation will soon start to determine how abortion services will be implemented from 31 March – the date at which the UK government is legally required to have put in place guidelines for free, safe, legal and local abortion services. Medical abortions will be delivered on two hospital sites from then on.
In the interim period, those who need to travel for an abortion will have all expenses, such as treatment, transport and a place to stay, paid for by the UK government and medical professionals in Northern Ireland will be able to provide information about abortion provision in England.
Dr. Cupples told the Independent he was most concerned for midwives and staffs who have “no protection” under the guidelines to object to being involved in abortion services.
Almost on cue, Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland campaigner manager, underscored why Dr. Cupples is right to worry. Teggart
argued conscientious objection should only apply to those carrying out terminations and not the care before or after the procedure takes place.
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