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Dublin, Ireland, Jul 17, 2019 / 12:01 pm (CNA).- Documents from the Republic of Ireland's health department show that abortion services are limited at nine of the country's 19 maternity hospitals, in part due to conscientious objectors.
In a May 2018 referendum, Irish voters repealed a constitutional amendment recognizing the right to life of unborn children and equal to mothers' right to life. Legislators then enacted legislation allowing legal abortion.
Ireland - Abortions - Practitioners - Weeks - Pregnancy
Ireland now permit medical abortions to be performed by general practitioners through nine weeks of pregnancy. Hospitals are allowed to perform surgical abortions through 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, abortions may be performed in “exceptional circumstances.”
The law permits medical professionals who conscientiously object to abortion to refrain from participation in the procedure; however, doctors who object to abortion must refer women to doctors who will perform them.
Statement - Department - Health - TheJournal - Ie
A statement from the Department of Health, obtained by TheJournal.ie, says that “the HSE [Health Service Executive] has advised that where conscientious objection has arisen in relation to the provision of termination of pregnancy services, hospital groups are working with the hospitals in question to find an appropriate solution.”
Of the nine maternity hospitals that do not offer full abortion services, five are due to to “operational issues”, and four are related to conscientious objection and recruitment, according to an April update sent to the national health department.
Hospitals - Abortion - Provision
Some of the hospitals are small, and have argued that abortion provision there would be unnecessarily expensive.
South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel, about 30 miles south of Thurles, has “the smallest number of births in the country (900 a year) and maternity services represent a small part of its activities; to establish a service in the hospital will require dedicated clinics, which may have little or no demand”, according to one of the documents.
HSE - Abortion - Provision
The HSE added that abortion provision at...
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