GPs Not Equipped for Abortion - Doctor


Following the furore over a highly misleading front page headline claiming that 75% of Irish doctors support the government’s plans for abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, the Irish Examiner published an op-ed by a GP who highlighted numerous problems with the government plan.


Dr Máire Neasta Nic Gearailt pointed out that there has been no valid poll of doctors on this subject. Nor has there been any consultation with doctors about the impact of the proposed abortion legislation. “This is very worrying and should cause voters to stop and think before they vote ‘yes’ in any referendum.”


“Under the Government’s proposed legislation, GPs would be required to prescribe and administer abortion pills to any woman up to 12 weeks pregnant, without seeking a reason for the abortion.


“How doctors are to be sure about gestational age, and that they would not be breaking the law, is unclear. Most GPs in Ireland do not currently perform ultrasounds, are not trained to use ultrasounds, and don’t have fetal assessment ultrasonography in their surgeries.


“Providing GPs with this equipment, and training them to use it, will be a very expensive and time consuming measure in an already pressurised and under-resourced system.


“Then, once a doctor is satisfied that a woman has the right under the new law to have an abortion, the doctor must administer two miscarriage-inducing pills over several days.


“The woman will experience cramping and heavy bleeding before the baby is expelled. How are GPs, operating in busy and crowded practises with common waiting rooms, expected to medically supervise this procedure?


“Neither are most GP surgeries the ideal place to deal with any emergencies that might arise from any adverse sequelae from taking these tablets.


“The fact is that, whatever the view of an individual GP on the abortion issue, we simply are not currently equipped as a profession to cope with what is being proposed by Simon Harris. We lack the facilities, the training, the time, and yes, the resources.


“Then there is the fact that a great many of us, myself included, simply could not in good conscience administer a drug to a healthy young woman with a healthy pregnancy that would cause her to lose her child. I did not study medicine so that I could end life, and I know that I am not alone in this.”

Irish Examiner. February 13.

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