Reader's Blog: Biased coverage of Eighth

I would like to condemn the biased reporting of your newspaper with regard to the government-proposed repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The story that doctors surveyed by the Irish Medical Times that showed a majority in favour of abortion up to 12 weeks was based on a poll methodology which can be subject to bias rendering it dangerously unrepresentative.

It is completely inconsistent with the most recent positions taken by doctor representative groups.

In the run up to the so-called “Protection of Life Bill” the opinion of every representative group for doctors emphatically rejected the notion that suicidality should ever be used as an indication for pregnancy termination.

On 25th April 2013 a statement on behalf of psychiatrists was delivered to Leinster House: an overwhelming 90% of respondents signed that legislation which would allow for abortion as a treatment for the threat of suicide has no basis in medical evidence.

On 5th April 2013 at their annual conference in Killarney the IMO (Irish Medical Organisation) doctors rejected a motion supporting regulation of abortion in line with the X case.

On 13th May 2013 at the conference of the ICGP (Irish college of GPs), doctors voted against a motion that the ICGP support the Government’s legislation giving effect to the X case.

The position of the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (of the RCPI) was that “as obstetricians are expected to practise evidence-based interventions there is a dilemma created for the profession because of the lack of evidence to support termination of pregnancy as a treatment for a patient at risk of committing suicide.”

The three doctor groups who all disagreed with using suicidality as an indication for terminating an unborn life are hardly likely to agree with abortion for any indication up to 12 weeks!

This is hardly surprising since doctors generally don’t consider killing one of their patients to relieve the distress of another patient as one of their roles in society.

This is equally true in countries which have legalised abortion: it is a deeply unpopular career and very few doctors want to perform abortions eg 7% of obsetrican-gynaecologists in the US perform even rare abortions in their practice. (according to the proabortion Guttmacher Institute).

No wonder people no longer trust the media.

Dr Therese Boyle

Dublin 7

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