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Conscientious objection is a fundamental human right

Conscientious objection is a fundamental human right

Letter to Editor 21/10/2018

Conscientious objection is a fundamental human right. The Council of Europe approved a resolution in 2010 stating 'NO person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against, in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion'. It has been incorporated into Irish Law in 2003 and includes freedom of thought, religion and conscience.

However the proposed abortion Bill By Minister for Health, Simon Harris is a grotesque and limited form that pretends to be full conscientious rights, when is not.

Last Wednesday 17th of October, The group ‘Doctors for Freedom of Conscience’ held a rally (estimated to be close to 2,000) of doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and supporters outside the Dail. Many healthcare professionals addressed the crowd, detailing the proposed Bill as 'state sponsored barbarism', through ending the lives of fellow human beings, and coercing them into going against their fundamental moral beliefs. You may not even be aware that this happened, as the mainstream media would not report it.No-where in Europe do GP's administer abortion pills.

The recent survey by 'GP Buddy' shows that 75% of doctors do not wish to be accomplices in the cruelty of taking innocent human life.Innumerable doctors, GP's. nurses, midwives have raised their concern on the roll-out of the abortion regime nationwide. GP's who have to train for at least 10 years before being fully qualified, state that they trained to protect life, not to take it.

As the Bill stands, all healthcare professionals could be forced to carry out abortions, regardless of their deeply held personal beliefs. Full conscientious rights should also be extended to pharmacists, laboratory staff, sonographers, researchers, medical students, healthcare assistants, mortuary staff, porters, receptionists in GP surgeries and even cleaners. Many do not want to participate when the abortion machine is up and running. Several alternatives have been proposed but Mr Harris is stubbornly intent on bulldozing the Bill through, with his own limited version of conscientious rights.

His coercion imposes charges and criminalisation on doctors who wish to preserve life. His regime is 'right up there with the most extreme abortion laws anywhere in the world'. It provides for late term abortion right up to birth, when Mr. Harris promised voters, the Bill wouldn't go this far. Dr. Aisling Bastible stated 'having proper freedom of conscience,...for all healthcare workers,.. enshrined in law, is a mark of a free society'.

Dr. Brendan Crowley said healthcare professionals, 'wish to continue to protect the life of their patients, born and unborn'. 'A lot of doctors and nurses will walk away from their jobs, rather than co-operate with such an unjust law'. 'Area will lose some of the finest GP's in the country and it will become a major election issue'.

The Hippocratic Oath, to firstly 'Do No Harm' has guided medicine for millennia, where all life is respected and treasured. Dr. Kirsten Fuller appealed to TD's and senators not to look the other way. She said, 'We will not be silenced'. 'We will never give up freedom of conscience. We will never give up on protecting life'. Until genuine freedom of conscience is extended to all healthcare workers and facilities, and they are protected from adverse consequences of following their conscience, then Eire is not as democratic or free, as we think it to be.

virgila Killigrew 

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