Wednesday 18 July 2018

Doctors want a set number of GPs to provide abortions

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A specific number of trained and experienced GPs, rather than a widespread group, could be established to provide medical abortions, a doctors' leader has urged.

Dr Maitiu O Tuathail, president of the National Association of General Practitioners, said that a limited group of GPs could build up expertise in providing medical abortions.

The proposed legislation allowing wider access to abortion was published by Health Minister Simon Harris yesterday.

He said it would be provided on a universal basis, so that cost was not a barrier. A fee has yet to be negotiated with GPs. It allows for unrestricted access to medical abortion up to 12 weeks and termination after that where the life and health of the mother is at risk, with terminations allowed in cases of fatal foetal abnormality.

The legislation will come before the Oireachtas in the autumn. Separate legislation will create "safe access zones" around health services providing abortion to block off protesters.

The intention was to make the new abortion services available in January, Mr Harris said. It allows for staff to opt out, but women must be referred to a service providing abortion.

Irish Independent

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