Sunday 22 July 2018

Vote No and safeguard women's mental health

Abortion is never easy or desirable for women whatever their circumstances, writes Dr Anne Doherty

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Anne Doherty

As a doctor and especially as a psychiatrist, I am anticipating this referendum with grave concern. This is a confusing debate. While many describe abortion as a healthcare initiative, there is no justification for describing it as a mental healthcare initiative.

I am a doctor who wishes to care for women in a genuinely compassionate way. In my day-to-day work, I want to respond to women in distress with care, compassion and professionalism, without judgment. In my work, I have met many women who have had terminations of pregnancy, some in very difficult and painful circumstances.

For some, it was part of a difficult time in their past; for others it has been the source of pain and suffering. I have not met any woman for whom it was an easy or desirable choice. All doctors, regardless of our personal views on abortion, treat women in distress or with mental health problems with care and consideration, and regardless of the outcome of the referendum, I will continue to do so.

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