GPs are ignoring democracy on abortion issues

Doctors’ group is demanding members fall into line without expressing their concerns

The Irish Times

Breda O’Brien

The board of the Irish College of General Practitioners, the professional body for general practice in Ireland, has refused for the second time requests from some of its members to hold an emergency general meeting to debate motions on abortion.  

Why is the ICGP so afraid of democracy? This is only the latest twist in a long-running saga that began when Simon Harris announced in a radio interview that abortion services were to be GP-led.

This was the first that GPs had heard of it. They were already over-worked, highly stressed and leaving the profession in droves. Many were stunned that there had been absolutely no consultation with GPs. . . [Full text]

Abortion and the medical profession

The Irish Times (Letter)
Reproduced with permission

Dr. Noreen O’Carroll

Sir, –

Dr Mark Murphy states that doctors who are opposed to abortion are in no way affected by the new service and their conscientious right to objection is respected.

In fact, doctors who have a conscientious objection are legally compelled to make arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned to someone who will terminate the pregnancy. For doctors who cherish human life from its origins, that is tantamount to making them accomplices in taking the life of a developing baby.

This is an abuse of conscience and contrary to the practice of medicine in the spirit of the Hippocratic oath which prohibits the direct intentional taking of human life.

Dr Murphy, who you omitted to mention is on the staff of the department of general practice at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, is one of a minority of GPs in Ireland who have signed up to provide abortion services; the vast majority of GPs have not done so – 274 was the figure recently reported by the HSE.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of a pro-life group; although as an ordinary citizen, I have consistently advocated for the life of the developing baby to be legally protected and have voted accordingly.

– Yours, etc, Dr Noreen O’Carroll, (Lecturer in Medical Ethics, RCSI), Blackrock, Co Dublin.

The euthanasia slippery slope is here

National Post

Barbara Kay

Last week marked the four-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that validated Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). At the time, many euthanasiasts confidently predicted there would be no “slippery slope” toward abuses. . . Federal Justice Minister David Lametti has said the government will continue to review the practice of MAID. . . Will he take into serious consideration the opinions of doctors who find the practice repugnant and contrary to conscience? . . .[Full text]

A proposal to reduce vaccine exemptions while respecting rights of conscience

Medical Xpress / The Conversation

Stacie Kershner, Daniel Salmon, Hillel Y. Levin and Timothy D. Lytton

Vaccine resistance is one of the top 10 threats to global health in 2019, according to the World Health Organization. Here in the U.S., New York City is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of measles in decades, sickening scores of children in ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

Other clustered outbreaks of deadly and highly contagious, but vaccine-preventable, diseases are becoming frustratingly routine around the country. These outbreaks are caused by some parents’ decision to claim religious and philosophical exemptions to state mandates that children must be vaccinated in order to attend school.

In response, prominent health organizations and advocacy groups have called on state legislatures to eliminate religious and philosophical exemptions. . . .

. . . In a collaboration among legal scholars and public health experts, we have developed an alternative approach: a model law that aims to reduce the number of parents who decline to vaccinate their children while respecting freedom of conscience. . . [Full text]

Death on demand: has euthanasia gone too far?

The Guardian

Christopher de Bellaigue

Last year a Dutch doctor called Bert Keizer was summoned to the house of a man dying of lung cancer, in order to end his life. . . . Keizer is one of around 60 physicians on the books of the Levenseindekliniek, or End of Life Clinic, which matches doctors willing to perform euthanasia with patients seeking an end to their lives, and which was responsible for the euthanasia of some 750 people in 2017. . . [Full text]

Doctors are last line of abortion defence

The law has changed but responsibilities of medical profession have not

The Times

David Quinn

In the Germany of Otto von Bismarck, they called it the Kulturkampf, which means cultural struggle. In a narrow sense it referred to the battle between the German state and the Catholic church over schools and ecclesiastical appointments, but more generally to efforts to reduce the influence of Catholicism in German life. The Lutheran church, being state-run, was not deemed a threat to Bismarck’s vision for a newly unified Germany.

The Irish state has not quite got around to seeking control over who gets to become a bishop, but church-run schools are in its sights, and ministers seem determined to reduce the influence of Catholicism in Irish life to a minimum. . . [Full text]

Alarming gap in assisted dying in Antigonish

The Chronicle Herald

Jocelyn Downie

Today (Dec. 17) marks two and a half years since the coming into force of Canada’s federal legislation on medical assistance in dying (MAiD).

In Nova Scotia, MAiD has now been requested in about 400 cases and provided in about 200. Unfortunately, there is one particularly notable gap in access to MAiD: St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, a publicly funded faith-based institution in Antigonish, refuses to allow MAiD within its walls. . . [Full text]

Hospital, care-home policies must change so more people can access medical assistance in dying

The Province

Alex Muir

. . . an individual who is suffering intolerably and whose death is reasonably foreseeable has a constitutional right to medical assistance in dying (MAiD) if certain other criteria are met. . .

. . . most people in Vancouver’s West End will end up at St. Paul’s, a hospital run by Catholic-based Providence Health, which doesn’t allow MAiD to be performed in any of its facilities. Anyone wanting to access MAiD once at St. Paul’s must be transferred to Vancouver General Hospital or another willing facility. . .

. . . end the practice of forced transfers by insisting that all taxpayer-funded facilities, including Providence facilities, provide MAiD on site. . .[Full text]

CEO of the ICGP Fintan Foy on the College’s recent EGM

Irish Medical Times

Fintan Foy

December 2, 2018 was a significant date in the history of the College for many reasons, when 310 members of the College attended an Extraordinary General Meeting convened by the College Board. This article provides an explanation on the background to the meeting and why the EGM as originally requested was not held.

I also describe the journey the College has been on since the Referendum result on the May 25, 2018. . .[Full text]

Conscientious objectors’ rights need protection

Irish Independent (Letters)

John Glennon

THE deep divide in public opinion on the abortion issue was reflected in the Dáil debate on the Government’s Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill. From reports on the recent meeting of the Irish College of General Practitioners, it is evident this divide is also present among doctors . . . [Full text]