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Warning over plan for suicide-risk panel

THE Government faces a huge problem in setting up a panel to assess suicide risk in pregnant women as grounds for abortion, according to a leading medical expert.

Dr Anthony McCarthy, based in the National Maternity Hospital in Holles St, Dublin, said he was one of only three perinatal psychiatrists in the country – specialists trained to care for the mental health of women during and following pregnancy

He told the Irish Independent the small number of psychiatrists in this area would present a "practical" problem in getting people qualified to assess risk of suicide.

Dr McCarthy said, apart from himself, the other two perinatal psychiatrists were in the Coombe and Rotunda maternity hospitals in Dublin.

If the Government legislates for the X Case, the grounds for abortion would have to include cases where there was a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman, including threat of suicide.

Irish Independent