Medical concerns over 'rush' to introduce provision of abortion services

The professional body for obstetricians and gynaecologists is to hold an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the introduction of abortion services.

The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists confirmed it had received a motion seeking an EGM.

The national professional and training body has around 200 members who are experienced obstetricians and gynaecologists.

Some members of the institute called for the EGM to discuss the planned provision of abortion services.

They believe the provision of services should not go ahead next month until the risks are assessed.

Responding, the institute stated the meeting would give members the opportunity to express an opinion on the introduction of abortion services, particularly the safety and readiness of such services.

“It is entirely appropriate for members to convene a meeting of the institute to discuss these matters formally,” a statement added.

Draft guidelines being developed by the institute in anticipation of the introduction of legislation to allow for abortions are almost completed.

“It must be emphasised that the institute has no role, authority or responsibility in the actual delivery of obstetric and gynaecological services which is the remit of the HSE,” the institute said.

An extraordinary meeting can be held 28 days after the motion is received.

Meanwhile, a group of nurses and midwives have joined obstetricians and gynaecologists in raising concern about “the rush” to introduce abortion services.

The group, Nurses & Midwives4Life Ireland, say they cannot understand why Health Minister Simon Harris is insisting on a January 1 deadline. More than 500 nurses and midwives have signed a petition urging the minister to consult with their profession.

Dr Peter Boylan, clinical adviser to the HSE's National Women and Infants Programme, said nurses and doctors could have a conscientious objection to conducting a termination. “But somebody bringing a patient to an operation theatre cannot have a conscientious objection. An institution cannot have a conscientious objection,” he said.

Dr Boylan said there were enough nurses and doctors in the hospitals and around the country to provide abortion services. There were genuine concerns held by his medical colleagues and he understood them, but they were more around the area of change.

The Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill passed all stages in the Dáil this week.

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