Doctors and nurses supporting 'No' say abortion proposals could spell ‘disaster’ for health service

The Irish government’s abortion proposal could lead to a potential “disaster” for the health service, anti-abortion doctors and nurses have claimed.

GPs and nurses from the Save the 8th Campaign claimed Health Minister Simon Harris has not consulted the doctors, who would be carrying out the abortions if Ireland’s laws are liberalised.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Minister for Health Simon Harris hasa been challenged to ‘come out of hiding’ (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)</figcaption>
Minister for Health Simon Harris hasa been challenged to ‘come out of hiding’ (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

The concerned doctors and nurses have called on the electorate not to lose sight of the fact that they are deciding on whether the 8th amendment, which gives the mother and unborn an equal right to life, should be replaced with wording that hands responsibility for setting the country’s abortion laws to politicians.

They point out that if the public votes to repeal, the Irish government will table legislation that would permit women to legally abort within 12 weeks of pregnancy.

GP Neil Maguire said it was not acceptable that the Health Minister had not consulted them.

“We are being told that this proposal is about the safety and health of women, and yet what is being proposed, in a cavalier fashion, is explicitly unsafe for women,” Mr Maguire said.

“As doctors, and as members of the public, we are being asked, once again, to trust Minister Harris.

“He has not spoken to us about what role he expects us to fulfil, and what is more, he has explicitly refused to discuss it until after a referendum has been passed.”

GP Anthony O’Reilly said it would be GPs and junior doctors not obstetricians that would be carrying out terminations.

“We are the people who already bear the brunt of the government’s absolute incompetence when it comes to the provision of healthcare services in Ireland,” Mr O’Reilly said.

Nurse Marie Donnelly said: “The lies about the abortion pill in this debate can no longer be ignored.

“It is not a magic tablet that makes pregnancies go away.”

She added: “The public are being fed a diet of rubbish by Minister Harris, and we know where that leads us.”“So I am challenging the Minister this morning – come out of hiding.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, doctors who favour repeal in next week’s referendum held a Together for Yes summit in the city.

They unveiled a declaration signed by more than 1,000 doctors in Ireland calling for the end of the Eighth Amendment.

Spokesman Dr Mark Murphy said: “Doctors across Ireland want change. We want repeal. We are here today to say that the Eighth Amendment isn’t working – it puts doctors in a constitutional straitjacket which holds us back from providing proper care to our patients.”

The event was attended by Minister Harris, one of the key political figures in the Yes campaign.

He insisted claims the proposed legislation would pave the way for unrestricted abortions were not true.

- Press Association