Group launches online ‘freedom of conscience for doctors’ initiative

The Pro Life Campaign says that Health Minister Simon Harris is misleading the public by claiming that freedom of conscience opt-outs for doctors are fully protected in the Government’s proposed new abortion law. The group is calling on its supporters to lobby politicians on the issue and “to speak up for the rights of doctors not to be forced to assist in facilitating abortions taking place.”

As part of its campaign, the PLC has launched a new online initiative where members of the public can send a ready to go e-card to their local TDs on the matter, at:

Commenting on the group’s latest lobbying initiative, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Dr Ruth Cullen said: “Simon Harris’s claim that freedom of conscience rights will be protected under any new legislation is absolutely untrue. His draft legislation compels doctors who don’t want to perform abortions to refer those seeking an abortion to another doctor who will carry out the procedure. It is a gross violation of the conscience rights of a doctor to force him or her to make arrangements for the certain death of an unborn baby whenever a request for an abortion is made.

“The Government’s proposal defines abortion as ‘a medical procedure which is intended to end the life of a foetus.’ The intent here couldn’t be clearer and the words used could hardly be any colder or clinical in describing what’s being sanctioned. It doesn’t matter how many times Minister Harris describes his proposal as ‘healthcare’, intentionally and deliberately setting out to end the life of an unborn baby has nothing whatsoever to do with genuine healthcare.”

Dr Cullen continued:

“It’s an outrage the way the Minister for Health is coercing doctors to go against their conscience and get in line with this Government’s extreme abortion proposal. The right of doctors and healthcare professionals not to have to participate in abortions is a civil rights and human rights issue. I don’t think Simon Harris understands the depth of feeling and opposition to this particular provision. If the Government refuses to change its position, I can assure the Minister that pro-life supporters and groups will come together and mount a massive public campaign of opposition and if necessary turn it into a major election issue. ”