Abortion in Ireland & the UK

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Ireland’s debate ahead? The abortion conscientious objector

An abortion conscientious objector in Melbourne, Australia  has to refer his patient to another doctor.

Abortion conscientious objectors in Victoria, Australia are having their voice heard in Parliament. But there is also the opposing side of the debate. Women’s reproductive rights.

This is not some prophetic voice, its more a reflective impulse upon reading news from Australia. ‘The Age’ is a newspaper based in Victoria, and the Australian parliament is discussing abortion reforms. There is a strong echo of Ireland in this debate, yet its not immediately obvious. The parliamentary debate centres on the abortion conscientious objector; a medic who has to by law, refer another doctor. That is the law in Victoria. If you are a doctor not open to abortion, you must refer your patient to a doctor who is. There is a similar clause that can be found in Ireland’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

How is this Australian parliamentary debate panning out?

As with all debates, there is more than one school of thought. In Victoria, we have the abortion conscientious objector versus women’s reproductive rights. This political debate is pretty divisive, as lobbyist on both sides are determined to win the day. Any reform might appear to render abortion availability as restrictive. Frankston Geoff Shaw is an independent MP who is considering a private members bill on the issue. His concern is that doctors are being forced to do something that they have a conscientious objection to. Emily’s list on the opposing side, are a network of pro choice Australian MPs. They are strongly in favour of protecting women’s reproductive rights. The debate is part of a global shift with a changing landscape on abortion worldwide.

Abortion Conscientious objectors in Ireland

Abortion in Ireland has yet to be rolled out. But given the situation in Australia, it’s inevitable that a similar debate will arise. The Irish Protection of Life During Pregnancy bill asserts in section 17, part 3:

“A person who has a conscientious objection… shall make such arrangements for the transfer of care of the pregnant woman concerned… to enable the woman to avail of the medical procedure concerned.”

The word abortion does not appear anywhere in this Irish abortion bill, but medical procedure closely describes this health service. With these reflections in mind, Abortion Advice.ie can see a likely Irish parliamentary debate mirroring Australia down the road.

photo credit: alandot via photopin cc

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