Ireland: Protect the Conscience of Medical Professionals
Since the Irish referendum on abortion, discussion is now focussed on the extent to which the state will force doctors to be involved in abortion procedures.
The state should make provision for robust conscience protections in law. These protections should
- Protect the right of the medical professional to conscientiously refuse to participate in abortion.
- Protect the right of the medical professional to conscientiously refuse to refer for abortions.
- Protect institutions with a fundamental objection to abortion, such as Catholic hospitals, from having to perform abortions, effectively shutting down the hospitals or forcing them to lose their religious character.
The Irish Taoiseach has already said that Catholic hospitals will have to perform abortions and that doctors will have to refer for abortions. This is a deeply authoritarian move and we should urge the Leo Varadkar to reconsider.
- To make abortion part of the normal practice of medicine is to treat pregnancy as a disease, but of course pregnancy is not a disease in need to treatment. Making abortion a part of medical practice amounts to a substantive redefinition of medicine. No medical professional should be forced to participation in a procedure which does not form part of that profession.
- To force medical professionals to participate in abortion is deeply authoritarian as it attempts to force them to violate their own conscience and moral integrity and is therefore a serious attack on the freedom of belief.
Please sign this email to Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, urging him to respect the consciences of medical professionals in Ireland.