Sunday 15 September 2019

Final Results

Repeal the Eighth Amendment?

Yes 66.40% 1,429,981

No 33.60% 723,632

  • Constituencies declared: 40/40

Referendum Hub

GPs 'alarmed' at minister's plans for abortion service

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Damien Eagers
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Damien Eagers
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

GPs said they are alarmed that Health Minister Simon Harris has decided they will "lead out an abortion service" without even consulting them first.

Mr Harris has indicated that GPs will be on the frontline to provide abortion pills to women who want to terminate pregnancies in the first 12 weeks.

But yesterday the National Association of General Practitioners (NAGP) said it is "outraged that there has been no consultation".

Dr Emmet Kerin, NAGP president, said: "I was alarmed to hear the minister's comments and presumption that the State would direct GPs to lead an abortion service without any engagement with our members to discuss the implications of this notion.

"The growing disconnect of the minister and his Department of Health from the frontline service of general practice is of genuine concern to me."

GPs are being forced to support the increasingly chaotic service. Forcing doctors to lead out "an abortion service without consultation" is an affront and will post more strain on them, he added.

Meanwhile, Ireland's real abortion rate stands at about 64 per 1,000 live births, which is in the lower range by European standards.

Prof Arne Bjornberg, chairman of the Euro Health Consumer Index, which compares health systems in different countries, said Ireland is currently among four countries in Europe where abortion rights are very restricted.

The other countries are Cyprus, Malta and Poland.

All four are at the bottom of the WHO's table for abortions per 1,000 live births, only counting the terminations which are recorded as carried out in each country.

However, if the annual 3,250 abortions among Irish women travelling to the UK, and the estimated more than 1,000 "home abortions" carried out with imported pills are counted then Ireland has a rate of around 64 per 1,000 live births.

This compares to an abortion rate of 250 per 1,000 births in the UK and 200 per 1,000 births in Italy.

Irish Independent

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