A 100-strong group of current and retired nurses will refuse to co-operate with any requests for an abortion in Irish hospitals.
The Catholic Nurses Guild of Ireland (CNGI) took the stance after the publication of proposed abortion legislation.
The draft bill allows for individuals to decline to take part in an abortion for personal reasons, on condition that they then transfer the patient to another medic.
The “conscientious objection” clause is a key hurdle in the abortion debate, as it further complicates an already difficult issue.
And the CNGI — which has 80 members here and 20 in the North, but was not able to clarify how many are retired — has become the first group to test the clause out, by stating its members will not agree to abortions.
“We wish to express our profound concern at the decision of our Government to legalise the direct targeting of the life of unborn babies,” a statement from CNGI president Brede Murphy read.
“As nurses and midwives, our duty always is to work ethically and professionally and to do our utmost to respect and protect the life of every person in our care. We are committed to recognising the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. We wish to express our deep concern and disappointment at the decision of our Government to legislate for the X case, which will allow the lives of totally innocent unborn babies to be deliberately ended.
“As nurses and midwives we cannot co-operate with the deliberate killing of innocent unborn babies in any circumstances. We therefore appeal to the Government to pull back from this destructive and unnecessary legislation.”
Ms Murphy added that, despite the stance, CNGI members will still provide care to any woman who requests an abortion until another medic who will comply with the request is found.
The comment from the unofficial group came as another organisation, Irish Catholic Doctors, also hit out at the abortion bill.
In a widely circulated email, the group said it was seeking support for a petition opposing the proposed new laws.
“There is a major crisis in Ireland at present; it has never been so serious. There is a real danger abortion will come into our country,” the email read.
The group is seeking 500 signatures from “doctors, especially obstetricians, gynaecologists and nurses involved in maternal healthcare” at irishcatholicdoctors.com[/url].
Neither group has official links to the Irish Medical Organisation, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, or Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association.
Abortion must be given to seriously ill woman, commission rules
A seriously ill young woman in El Salvador must be allowed have an abortion to save her own life, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has ruled.
Beatriz, 22, has a 1-year-old son and is four-and-a-half months pregnant. Doctors say she could die if the pregnancy continues as she has lupus and kidney disease. Doctors confirmed the foetus is missing a large part of its brain and skull, meaning the baby is expected to die before it is born or within a few days of birth.
Doctors have not terminated the pregnancy as they fear they could be prosecuted under the strict laws which criminalise abortion in the country.
Esther Major, Amnesty Internat-ional’s researcher on Central America, said: “Beatriz’s life is hanging in the balance because of unjustifiable delays on behalf of the authorities.”
On Mar 22, health professionals treating Beatriz requested permission from the Salvadoran authorities to carry out an abortion which they deemed necessary to safeguard her health and life. They also asked for a guarantee that the doctors treating her would not be prosecuted under the country’s strict laws, which prohibit abortion in all circumstances.
When the authorities failed to respond, Beatriz’s lawyers took the request to the country’s Supreme Court, which has still not issued a decision.
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