Third petition as GPs ‘fight’ for conscience rights on abortion

The Irish Catholic

Chai Brady

Hundreds of Irish GPs have submitted a third petition to their representative body calling for a vote on abortion and freedom of conscience.

Approximately 600 GPs hand-signed the petition calling for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Dr. Orla Halpenny from Doctors for Life said that “members are very angry” not only with the issue of abortion but several actions taken by the ICGP. . . [Full text]

A National Health Fund doctor who refused to perform a legal abortion is being disciplined

Correo del Sur

El Deber

Caution: Machine assisted translation of “Procesan a médico de la CNS que se negó a practicar un aborto legal.” Correo del Sur, 20 Marzo, 2019.

The National Health Fund (CNS) of Sucre decided to suspend the doctor J.N.M., interim chief of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of the Obrero Hospital “Dr. Jaime Mendoza “, and to initiate an administrative process for refusing to perform the legal termination of the pregnancy of citizen P.A.A.

The information was communicated to the defense delegation of Chuquisaca, by the regional administrator of the insurer in the capital of the country, Javier Mercado, who indicated that a similar process will also be started against the former director of that hospital, J.M.C.

The Ombudsman issued a ruling concerning the violation of the rights of citizen PAA, who was denied access to the procedure for the legal termination of pregnancy because there was congenital malformation in the fetus (anencephaly), according to medical diagnosis, rights supported in a constitutional decision and legal regulations.

In Bolivia, Constitutional Decision No. 206/2014 and Ministerial Resolution No. 027/2015 regulate the provision in health services of the legal and safe termination of pregnancy when it endangers the health or life of women, if there are lethal congenital malformations, or if it is the product of rape or rape and incest.

Menacho explained last Saturday, that he would wait for the official reports to decide what actions to take with respect to the doctor involved, since the professional had claimed an “objection of conscience” not to perform the abortion.

“The professionals of the institution took refuge in the ‘conscientious objection’, that is to say, that nobody can be forced to interrupt the life of a human being,” he explained in a press conference, explaining that the patient left the hospital to go to another one in which the abortion was performed.

U.S. Public Health Service STD Experiments in Guatemala (1946–1948) and Their Aftermath

Kayte Spector-Bagdady, Paul A. Lombardo


The U.S. Public Health Service’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) experiments in Guatemala are an important case study not only in human subjects research transgressions but also in the response to serious lapses in research ethics. This case study describes how individuals in the STD experiments were tested, exposed to STDs, and exploited as the source of biological specimens—all without informed consent and often with active deceit. It also explores and evaluates governmental and professional responses that followed the public revelation of these experiments, including by academic institutions, professional organizations, and the U.S. federal government, pushing us to reconsider both how we prevent such lapses in the future and how we respond when they are first revealed.

SpectorBagdady K, Lombardo PA. U.S. Public Health Service STD Experiments in Guatemala (1946–1948) and Their Aftermath. Ethics & Human Research. 2019 Apr; 41(2): 29-34.

Doctors to fight new abortion law

Hawthorn Caller

Mike Billings

A group of doctors opposed to abortion say they will fight any moves in looming reforms to erode their rights to refuse to deal with patients wanting abortions. The issue of referring patients seeking abortions to another doctor has drawn opposition from the group.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says he agrees with a Law Commission proposal for doctors who are “conscientious objectors” to abortion to be made to directly refer a patient on to another doctor who they know will provide the service.

Currently, such doctors only have to advise the patient they can get the service elsewhere without specifying where. . . [Full text]

National Health Fund clarifies circumstances in abortion case

Woman had requested termination of pregnancy for malformation

Correo del Sur

Caution: Machine assisted translation of ” CNS aclara actuación en caso de aborto: La Mujer Había Pedido Interrumpir el Embarazo por Malformación.” Correo del Sur, 16 Marzo, 2019.

The regional administrator of the National Health Fund (CNS) Chuquisaca, Javier Menacho, disclaimed responsibilities on the alleged violation of the rights of a pregnant woman who requested the legal and safe termination of her pregnancy due to congenital malformation of the fetus. He clarified that the family requested, by their own decision, the discharge of the patient and then went to another hospital where they fulfilled the desire of the mother.

At a press conference, Menacho explained that in mid-February of last year they treated a patient with a five-month pregnancy. She had been transferred from Villa Tunari, Cochabamba.

He said that after doing the corresponding studies they determined that the fetus had a congenital malformation; then, the woman’s family asked for the termination of the pregnancy.

The doctors met in a medical meeting and, following the protocols, gave three options: the first, continue with the pregnancy; the second, to guide the family on the malformation of the fetus; and the third, obtain a legal approval that allows interrupting the pregnancy.

“However, the professionals of the institution claimed ‘conscientious objection’, that is, that no one can be forced to interrupt the life of a human being,” Menacho explained.

He said that days later, the family requested the discharge of the patient and saw it convenient to go to another hospital, where they did proceed with the termination of the pregnancy.

“We are waiting for our legal report, what steps have to be followed, with what charges we are to proceed. I cannot begin a process immediately without having a adequate evidence because I cannot judge anyone without having something concrete, “Menacho said.

Hospital denies legal abortion care

The Ombudsman’s Office calls for punitive action

Correo del Sur

Caution: machine assisted translation of “Hospital niega atención de aborto legal.” Correo del Sur, 15 Marzo 2019.

The Ombudsman’s Office asked the authorities of the Jaime Mendoza Hospital, the National Health Fund and the Ministry of Health to take civil, criminal and / or administrative action against those responsible for violating the rights of a pregnant woman who requested legal interruption of her pregnancy due to congenital malformation of the fetus, a right that was denied.

The case was made public yesterday by the Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz, who said that the decision of the citizen is supported by the Plurinational Constitutional Judgment No. 206/2014, but despite this, the hospital refused to perform the termination of pregnancy, so the woman had to resort to another center.

She explained that the rule permits legal interruption when “pregnancy endangers the health or life of women, there is the existence of lethal congenital malformations, or is the product of rape, rape and incest.” She asked for respect for the law and the human rights of women.

A right to be unconscious

Julian Savulescu, Janet Radcliffe-Richards

[Referring to Sinmyee et al] This seems to us to be an important, landmark paper. This is because the issues it addresses are important in their own right: how to ensure death without suffering in jurisdictions where assisted dying (including assisted suicide or euthanasia) is allowed, and also, because the technicalities are the same, in cases of capital punishment by lethal injection. Moreover, the paper shows the potential for the use of anaesthesia in contexts beyond surgery. Anaesthesia in its ordinary uses is intended to facilitate surgery designed to restore a patient to improved health and functioning. In assisted dying, however, there is no question of restoring health. The proposition is to use anaesthesia primarily to prevent suffering in a patient who is about to die and, in this sense, places anaesthesia on a new footing as a primary medical intervention, serving a purpose in its own right.

Savulescu J, Radcliffe-Richards J.  A right to be unconscious. Anaesthesia. 2019 May; 74(5): 557-559

Obstetrics and anaesthesia job pre-conditions dismay bishops

Requirement to carry out elective abortions part of National Maternity Hospital job spec

The Irish Times

Patsy McGarry

The Catholic bishops have expressed regret at pre-conditions for applicants in recent advertisements for medical posts at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

One of the main preconditions for applicants for the posts in obstetrics and anaesthesia was a requirement to carry out elective abortions if appointed. . . [T]he bishops said “this precondition runs totally counter to a doctor’s constitutional and human right to freedom of conscience. . .” [Full text]

Holy See: freedom of religion – “litmus test”of other human rights

Vatican News

Robin Gomes

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 5 attended a meeting on freedom of religion of belief.

The Holy See is reiterating its advocacy of the universal and unbiased application of the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief saying it is the “litmus test of all other human rights”. . .

. . . The Holy See diplomat observed that increasing calls to restrict the right of conscientious objection, indicate that some politicians and even some quarters of international agencies, forgetting their nature and mandate, are still uncomfortable with the right of freedom of conscience and belief. . . [Full text]

Womb transplants could be a “vital medical service” for transgender women


Michael Cook

A well-known British cosmetic surgeon says that transgender women (ie, natal males) should be entitled to womb transplants when the technique becomes safe and feasible. Children have already been born after womb transplants from live and deceased donors.

Dr. Christopher Inglefield, founder of the London Transgender Clinic and a specialist in “gender confirmation surgery”, told the Mirror (UK) that it would be possible to perform the procedure on a transgender woman. . . [Full text]