Doctors won’t be forced to dispense abortion pills

Doctors who are opposed to abortion will not be forced to dispense the abortion pill, according to Health Minister Simon Harris.

Speaking at a yes event in Dublin alongside former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Mr Harris said a conscientious objection provision will apply, should the people decide to repeal the Eighth Amendment on May 25.

Mr Harris referred to a gathering of doctors at the weekend in favour of repeal, saying the group made it clear that “the status quo is not working”.

“There will be conscientious objection,” he said.

Mr Harris also said it was important to realise that one vote in every ballot box in the 1995 divorce referendum could have altered the result.

Eight members of the Rural Independent group of TDs held an event to urge voters to vote no on May 25.

At a launch yesterday, Danny Healy-Rae (Kerry), Michael Collins (Cork South West), Mattie McGrath (Tipperary), Sean Canney (Galway East), and Noel Grealish (Galway West) posed for a photograph.

Michael Fitzmaurice (Roscommon-Galway), Michael Healy Rae (Kerry), and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran (Longford-Westmeath) were absent, but back the campaign.

The LoveBoth campaign’s Cora Sherlock branded comments by senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers as “fake outrage”. Mr Ó Ríordáin and Ms Chambers had repeated requests from Down Syndrome Ireland for the issue to be left out of campaigning.

Ms Sherlock said her colleagues had put up new posters in the past 24 hours relating to Down syndrome.

“The fake outrage by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Lisa Chambers is another sign of the reluctance of those pushing for repeal to address this issue in any serious way,” said Ms Sherlock.

Meanwhile, the chair of the Referendum Commission said the body has no role to regulate or control advertisements and posters and it is not the job to police the material in these posters.

Judge Isobel Kennedy said that while the Commission is not in the position to challenge inaccurate material, people can check posters or material from either side against the Commission’s own “neutral” information on its website.

She said that any future legislation must be passed by a majority of the Dáil and Seanad, and that any free vote is a matter for each party or group.

Should the referendum proposal pass, any legislation passed by the Dáil and Seanad will then be forwarded to the President to be signed into law.


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