Saturday 21 September 2019

Two-thirds of GPs will not offer medical abortions


A quarter also said they would prefer not to refer a woman. Stock Image
A quarter also said they would prefer not to refer a woman. Stock Image
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Up to two-thirds of GPs may decide not to offer women a medical abortion service when it becomes law.

Around 43pc of family doctors said they would not become involved for various reasons, including workload and conscientious objection, but would refer a woman to a service providing abortion.

However, a quarter said they would not provide abortion and would prefer not to refer a woman to another doctor.

One-third of GPs will definitely participate in the scheme, the online consultation by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) said.

The doctors' body consulted with its 3,500 members over August and September.

Dr Tony Cox, medical director of the ICGP, said it indicates that the majority of GPs are either willing to provide the service or refer a patient to another doctor who will. "The 24-hour helpline will help women seeking a termination of pregnancy to be referred to a GP or other provider in the community who is able to provide the service to them," he said.

It comes as the Oireachtas Health Committee finished hearing 180 amendments to the proposed bill widening abortion grounds. None of the amendments from pro-life or pro-choice TDs were accepted but there may be some clarifications, particularly in areas like the mandatory three-day pause a women seeking abortion must observe.

Health Minister Simon Harris will meet with the TDs next week to discuss these.

Irish Independent

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