Catholic News Agency
London, England, Nov 5, 2019 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- The British government launched Monday a public consultation on a proposed framework for the legal provision of abortion in Northern Ireland. It proposes that elective abortions be available up to 12 or 14 weeks gestation.
“With a legal duty now placed on the Government to change the abortion law in Northern Ireland, this consultation focuses on what new regulatory framework must be put in place for lawful access to abortion services in Northern Ireland,” Julian Smith, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote in a foreword to the consultation begun Nov. 4. . .[Full text]
Midwives and other healthcare professionals have no statutory right to conscientious objection
Northern Ireland midwives who object to providing abortion care have been advised by their professional body to inform their management as soon as possible.
The new arrangements mean that women will not be criminalised for seeking an abortion and midwives and other healthcare professionals will not be criminally prosecuted for providing abortion services.
However, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said that at the moment, “midwives and other healthcare professionals continue to have no statutory right to conscientious objection”. . . . [Full text]
Northern Irish GP’s warning comes after abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland
Hundreds of healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland will refuse to be involved in services which carry out abortions, a doctor has warned.
Abortion has long been illegal in Northern Ireland in almost all circumstances – including rape and incest – but the procedure was decriminalised in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
Andrew Cupples, a Northern Irish GP who is strongly opposed to the liberalisation of abortion laws, has said a number of healthcare professionals have personally told him they would leave their jobs if they were made to carry out an abortion. . . [Full text]
Internal Department of Justice documents show senior officials believe the new regime of decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland will present “obvious difficulties” for health professionals and the Department of Health.
The news comes after pro-life groups raised concerns that the new legal situation in Northern Ireland will provide little protection for health care professionals who wish to exercise conscientious objection to taking part in abortions. Other difficulties such groups envisage are regarding abortion pills and the readiness of the health service to provide abortions in NI. . . [Full text]
If the new legislation is introduced here, a conscientious objection clause is required, argues Alban Maginness
The easiest thing to do when things become contentious in your working life is to keep your head down and your mouth shut. But remarkably last week, 815 doctors, nurses and midwives didn’t do that, but sent a strongly worded letter of protest to Secretary of State Julian Smith expressing opposition to any change in the abortion legislation here. They are so incensed by the undemocratic imposition by Westminster of an extreme abortion regime on the health service in Northern Ireland that they had to speak out publicly. . . [Full text]
A midwife has said she would walk away from the profession if she was forced to either perform or assist an abortion after the liberalisation of the law in Northern Ireland next month.
She was speaking after a letter signed by 815 doctors, nurses and midwives was sent to Secretary of State Julian Smith and Richard Pengelly, the permanent secretary for the Department of Health, expressing opposition to any change of legislation here.
Carrickfergus GP Dr Andrew Cupples also warned of a mass exodus of healthcare professionals if they had to assist in a pregnancy termination. . . [Full text]
Marie-Louise Connolly, Catherine Smyth
Hundreds of health professionals have written to the NI secretary expressing opposition to the liberalisation of NI’s abortion laws.
The doctors, nurses and midwives say their consciences will not allow them to stay silent on the issue.
They want reassurance as “conscientious objectors” that they will not have to perform or assist abortions.
Unless the NI assembly is restored by 21 October, restrictions on abortion in NI will be drastically reduced. . . . [Full text]
Midwife voices fear for conscientious objectors if NI legislation changes
Health workers in Northern Ireland could be left “exposed” by changes to abortion law, a lecturer in midwifery has claimed.
Debbie Duncan spent over 30 years working as a midwife in Scotland and England and now lectures at the school of nursing and midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast.
She was never obliged to take part in abortions during her career as the law allowed her to conscientiously object.
Ms Duncan said she fears “too much change with no regulation” means the same protections may not apply here. . . [Full text]