GPs Upset by Plans to Have Them Do Abortions


The National Association of GPs has called on the Minister of Health to engage with the representative body about his plans that abortion on demand up to 12 weeks should be provided under a GP-led scheme. The association represents around 2,000 family doctors and has said it strongly objects to the assumption that abortion will be a GP-led service.


NAGP President Dr Emmet Kerin said that his members are outraged that there has been no consultation. He said there was a presumption that the State would direct GPs to lead an abortion service, without any engagement with NAGP members to discuss the implications of the notion.


Dr Kerin also said in a statement that "the growing disconnect of the Minister and his Department of Health from the frontline service of General Practice is of genuine concern" to him.


Meanwhile the Irish Examiner has claimed that 75 per cent of Irish doctors back the government’s plan to allow abortion on demand up to 12 weeks. A headline to this effect was the lead story on Thursday’s front page. This claim is entirely false and raises serious questions about the Examiner’s ability to provide any kind of balanced coverage of the referendum debate.


According to the Examiner, “Three out of every four GPs and hospital consultants are in favour of allowing unrestricted access to abortion up to 12 weeks gestation, the most substantial survey of medics on the issue to date has found.”


The “survey” to which the report refers was conducted on the website and social media pages of the Irish Medical Times. Out of 388 respondents, a total of 285, or 73 per cent, said they are in favour of the abortion plan. The poll was promoted by the group Doctors for Choice and there is no reason to believe that all the respondents were even doctors. There are over 21,000 medical practitioners registered with the Irish Medical Council.


Attempting to give the online poll credibility, the Examiner article described it as “the most substantial examination of doctors’ 12-week abortion views to date.”


At the time of writing, the false and misleading story, complete with its fake news headline is still on the Irish Examiner website. Other news sites which had posted stories about the poll, including The Irish Times and The, removed them when it became clear how little substance it had.


Readers who complained to the Examiner received a response from the editor which claimed that the Irish Examiner “fairly and accurately reported the results of a survey in the Irish Medical Times assessing the level of support among doctors for unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks.” He said the paper had made enquiries about the poll methodology.


The unfortunate fact is that the vast majority of people who saw the headline, “75% of Doctors Support 12 Week Access to Abortion” in shops and newsstands across Ireland did not read anything else about it, and have been grossly mislead.

RTÉ. February 5. Irish Examiner. February 8. Family & Life. February 9.

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