Medical watchdog gives doctors green light for abortions
Doctors are to be given advice from their regulatory body which removes any ethical conflict to their participation in abortion services.
The Medical Council will be writing to all doctors to reassure them they can deliver the service under the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 which was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins yesterday.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board, which regulates nurses, has also told the profession it is not a breach of their code to provide services under the new law.
The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said he will sign a number of legal instruments today to enact the new law.
It paves the way for the introduction of wider abortion services from January 1.
Several hundred GPs are believed to have signed a contract to provide medical abortion but they still need clarification from the HSE about the maternity hospitals which will be participating and the extent of services they will provide.
The legislation will allow for unrestricted medical abortion up to twelve weeks.
Women whose unborn baby had been diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality will also be entitled to request an abortion.
The new law also allows for termination where there is a risk to life or of serious harm to the health of the expectant mother.
A helpline which will provide counselling and also directions to the nearest provider will be available to women from January 1.
The abortion procedure itself will be free of charge.
However, the woman undergoing the abortions will have to pay for any additional medication, including pain relief or antibiotics.
GPs are to be paid a fee of €450 for the service.