News from Europe

Northern Irish medical professionals refuse to perform abortions following law change

Nearly 1,000 medics registered in Northern Ireland are refusing to be involved in providing abortions to patients. The defiant action comes after abortion was legalized in the country in early October, plunging many physicians into a moral dilemma.


Northern Irish doctor Andrew Cupples, who is vehemently opposed to the liberalization of the abortion laws, warned a number of his colleagues have vowed to leave the profession if they’re forced to carry out terminations – reports.

“Hundreds of healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland will refuse to be involved in abortion services,” Cupples told the Independent. “There are even people who are planning to walk away from the healthcare service if they are forced to participate in abortion services.”

Cupples has written a letter to the Northern Ireland Secretary, Julian Smith, outlining his concerns. The letter has been signed by 911 of the country’s medical professionals.

Indeed, it is not just doctors concerned about the sudden law change and its implications. “There are also people in obstetrics and gynecology and midwives who are worried if they do not agree to be trained in abortion they could be forced to do so or reprimanded by their employers or a professional body,”

Cupples explained, noting midwives and other maternity staff have “no protection” under the new guidelines to object to being involved in abortion services.

According to the protocols issued by the British Parliament, medical professionals who conscientiously objects to being involved in abortions “must raise this with their employer” in the interim period, prior to a public consultation being carried out within the Northern Ireland government.

The consultation is due to address key issues such as how far along a woman can obtain an abortion and what procedures will be permitted, along with clearer guidelines concerning conscientious objection.

Picture above – 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 (Getty Images)

Earlier this year Irish bishops already made clear: medical staff at Catholic hospitals in Ireland will not be terminating pregnancies.


Leave a reply