Ireland’s new abortion service is the envy of many healthcare systems
I am incredibly proud as a GP to be part of something so worthwhile and rewarding
Thu, Feb 21, 2019
I never thought I would be a provider of abortion services. It’s not that surprising really. Abortion was not mentioned once in the medical curriculum when I qualified 14 years ago. It was an unspoken phenomenon, a secret reality. Before I became a GP, I never had a real conversation about abortion. It’s astonishing to consider that fact now, knowing that 25 million unsafe abortions happen each year, mostly in developing countries. High-profile legal cases, such as the X Case, were not seen as healthcare issues by our profession.
The threat of criminalisation contributed to this silence– a chilling effect, with doctors worried if they provided information or if they acted outside of the constitutional restraints, imposed by the Eighth Amendment. Though there are notable exceptions, including the Irish Family Planning Association, it is a sad epitaph that it took so long for the medical profession to find its voice.