Irish medical students completed an 18-item anonymous questionnaire, measuring knowledge and attitudes regarding abortion, and current Irish abortion law. The majority of students, regardless of mode of entry, believed abortion was justified where there was a real risk to the life of the woman (including risk of suicide) or in cases of fetal non-viability. The most significant determinant of students’ beliefs was religious adherence and continent-of-origin.
The issue of abortion has once again found itself back on the agenda of decision-makers, but unfortunately it seems no one is willing to sit down and talk it over. Is it really so hard to do?
On 30 June 2016, the Irish Parliament debated a private member’s bill by Independents4Change allowing abortion in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, if a qualified perinatologist and an obstetrician certified in good faith that the condition of the fetus was incompatible with life. The Minister said he was not opposed to the purpose of the bill, but the Government would not be supporting it because the Attorney General believed it was unconstitutional, due to the clause giving equal right to the life of mother and baby – even though the baby would not survive no matter what.
The Dutch Health Minister Edith Schippers wants to make medical abortion available from GPs, as pills are currently only available in hospitals and abortion clinics. Another change she intends is that doctors will have to report all prescriptions to the Health Ministry Inspectorate, thus bringing early abortions under the Dutch abortion law. Early abortion (with amenorrhoea up to 45 days = 17 days after a missed period), has never been considered to be an abortion for which a licence or registration of the abortion with the Health Inspectorate is required.
A feature on women practising civil disobedience to fight for women’s right to safe abortions.