Leading Irish hospital makes willingness to do abortions a condition of employment


Michael Cook

Only doctors who are willing to perform abortions will be considered for two consultant posts at Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital. The hospital is advertising for a consultant anaesthetist and a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology.

According to a statement from the NMH the positions include the “provision of termination-of-pregnancy services, and are for individuals willing to contribute to the provision of these services”.

A source at the hospital told the Irish Times that conscientious objection guidelines for existing staff would remain as they were before.

Baroness Nuala O’Loan, of Northern Ireland, recently warned that the Republic would be entering “uncharted territory” if it made willingness to perform abortions a condition of employment. What if doctors changed their mind, feeling in conscience that they could no longer participate in abortions, she asked.

After a referendum last year which allowed abortion to be legalised, Ireland is expanding its services quickly to provide abortions. The health department’s budget provides €7 million in funding for abortion services this year and €12 million in 2020.

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One thought on “Leading Irish hospital makes willingness to do abortions a condition of employment”

  1. It appears from the news reports that two positions have been reserved for physicians willing to provide abortions so as to ensure that the National Maternity Hospital can provide abortions now permitted under Irish law. If the hospital did not ensure that someone was willing to provide the service, it is likely that objecting physicians on staff would have been subjected to pressure to do so. By staffing two positions with physicians willing to provide abortions, the hospital is facilitating both access to the service and accommodation of objecting staff. Clearly, a physician who accepts one of the positions and later decides against continuing to participate in abortion would have to seek other employment, perhaps as one of the objecting hospital staff.

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