In Ireland, abortion was legalized in 2018, with 66.4% of the vote in the referendum. However, the vast majority of physicians remain staunchly pro-life. In fact, 88% proclaim themselves conscientious objectors, while half of the hospitals with maternity wards do not perform abortions. The remaining meager 12% of abortionists number only 405 physicians. The data emerges from a research published by the periodical Newstalk: a remarkable result when you consider that, in the country, the pressures of lobbies and government on the health system are very strong. It is the Health Service Executive (HSE), the National Health Service, that is making ongoing efforts to ensure that abortion in hospitals becomes as available as possible.
Now, Irish law, after referendum changes in 2018, allows abortion up to the twelfth week of life of the child in the mother’s womb and in exceptional cases even up to the sixth month. And what makes the legislation particularly aggressive are the public funding of abortion and the severe limitations on conscientious objection.
Feminists in panic
The goal of the anti-natalist lobby is to silence any conscientious objectors in the medical field . According to Orla O’Connor, director of the feminist collective National Women Council, parliament must ensure, she told the newspaper The Irish Times, that conscientious objection will never prevent pregnant women from accessing emergency health care”.
Totally opposed are doctors like Dr. Trevor Hayes and three other gynecologists at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, who have “unanimously decided” not to perform abortions in that hospital. As reported some time ago by the newspaper Kilkenny Now, Hayes fears an epochal earthquake in the health system as a large number of objecting doctors would be suspended or quit their profession rather than perform abortions.
“If this means that doctors, nurses and other health care professionals will be forced out of medicine, it will only add to the staffing crisis that is already crippling the health service,” says Hayes, who adds, “Abortion does not save life. It ends it. It is not health care, and no amount of pressure can make it so.”
Also Hayes strongly criticizes Health Minister Simon Harris, one of the main strategists behind the legalization of abortion. “He’s obsessed with abortion,” says the pro-life doctor.