New Irish Abortion Law Threatens Medical Conscience Protections

Physicians, nurses and midwives in the Republic of Ireland are fighting for conscience protections as the government works hastily to ensure abortion services are available in the nation by Jan. 1.

In May, the republic voted to legalize abortion, removing its longstanding eighth amendment, which was the country’s last remaining legal safeguard for the unborn. Its neighbor, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, only allows abortion in rare circumstances.

According to The Times of London, the nation’s new abortion law will mandate that physicians who object to participating in an abortion be required to refer patients to willing practitioners. Also, nurses who conscientiously object would be required to offer at least pre-operative care in surgical abortions.

Groups such as Nurses & Midwives4Life Ireland and Doctors for Freedom of Conscience are lobbying the government for freedom of conscience protections.