Amnesty International: ‘Conscientious objection to abortion unacceptable’

Medics in the Republic of Ireland should not be allowed to refuse to carry out abortions on religious or ethical grounds, Amnesty International has said.

The organisation’s Executive Director in Ireland, Stephen Bowen, claimed pro-life medics were ‘failing’ pregnant women by causing them to travel overseas for an abortion.

Amnesty, which advocates for the decriminalisation of abortion, says human rights protections only “start at birth” and labels laws limiting access to abortion as ‘human rights violations’.

Pro-abortion recruitment

In its 2024 report ‘The State of the World’s Human Rights’, the organisation noted that medics in Ireland “frequently invoked conscience clauses” when refusing to perform abortions.

Commenting on the report, Bowen stated: “the fact that some health care professionals are refusing to provide a health service on the basis of conscience is unacceptable”.

Last year, in a Government-commissioned review on access to abortion, barrister Marie O’Shea suggested the Health Service Executive recruit more pro-abortion GPs. She also argued that in some instances hospitals should be allowed to screen out job applicants who conscientiously object to abortion.

10,000 deaths

According to figures released earlier this year, the number of abortions in Ireland reached a record high in 2023.

Data from the Health Service Executive revealed that GPs made 9,218 claims for “Combined termination procedure and aftercare” between January and November 2023, almost 23 per cent more than the year before.

The figures do not cover abortions performed in hospitals, which could take the overall number to more than 10,000.

In 2019, abortion was made available on demand up to twelve weeks with a three-day reflection period. Following the coronavirus pandemic, women have been allowed to take abortion pills at home.

Also see:

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