London, England, Nov 5, 2019 / 07:01 pm (CNA).- The British government launched Monday a public consultation on a proposed framework for the legal provision of abortion in Northern Ireland. It proposes that elective abortions be available up to 12 or 14 weeks gestation.
“With a legal duty now placed on the Government to change the abortion law in Northern Ireland, this consultation focuses on what new regulatory framework must be put in place for lawful access to abortion services in Northern Ireland,” Julian Smith, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, wrote in a foreword to the consultation begun Nov. 4. . .[Full text]
Midwives and other healthcare professionals have no statutory right to conscientious objection
Northern Ireland midwives who object to providing abortion care have been advised by their professional body to inform their management as soon as possible.
The new arrangements mean that women will not be criminalised for seeking an abortion and midwives and other healthcare professionals will not be criminally prosecuted for providing abortion services.
However, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said that at the moment, “midwives and other healthcare professionals continue to have no statutory right to conscientious objection”. . . . [Full text]
Northern Irish GP’s warning comes after abortion decriminalised in Northern Ireland
Hundreds of healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland will refuse to be involved in services which carry out abortions, a doctor has warned.
Abortion has long been illegal in Northern Ireland in almost all circumstances – including rape and incest – but the procedure was decriminalised in Northern Ireland on Tuesday.
Andrew Cupples, a Northern Irish GP who is strongly opposed to the liberalisation of abortion laws, has said a number of healthcare professionals have personally told him they would leave their jobs if they were made to carry out an abortion. . . [Full text]
Internal Department of Justice documents show senior officials believe the new regime of decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland will present “obvious difficulties” for health professionals and the Department of Health.
The news comes after pro-life groups raised concerns that the new legal situation in Northern Ireland will provide little protection for health care professionals who wish to exercise conscientious objection to taking part in abortions. Other difficulties such groups envisage are regarding abortion pills and the readiness of the health service to provide abortions in NI. . . [Full text]
If the new legislation is introduced here, a conscientious objection clause is required, argues Alban Maginness
The easiest thing to do when things become contentious in your working life is to keep your head down and your mouth shut. But remarkably last week, 815 doctors, nurses and midwives didn’t do that, but sent a strongly worded letter of protest to Secretary of State Julian Smith expressing opposition to any change in the abortion legislation here. They are so incensed by the undemocratic imposition by Westminster of an extreme abortion regime on the health service in Northern Ireland that they had to speak out publicly. . . [Full text]