Press Releases

Tuesday 29th May 2018

GP’s willing, able and ready to provide Early Medical Abortion services in the Community

Following the decision to repeal the Eighth Amendment, discussion has moved on to how abortion services will be provided in Ireland.

However more than 1600 doctors currently licensed to practice in Ireland signed a Declaration advocating for a Yes vote to remove the Eighth Amendment because of the harms they saw caused to their patients by the absence of safe, legal abortion care here.
Doctors for Choice are today (29.05.2018) clearly stating that it is entirely possible, and preferred, that a doctor led service can be established in Ireland. The numbers make this clear.

On current figures if only 100 of the approximated 2500 general practitioners in Ireland were willing to provide this service each GP would deal with 26 requests a year, that’s one every two weeks. If 400 GPs were willing to provide this healthcare service, they would see an average of 6 to 7 per year.

We recognise that some GP’s are conscientious objectors to providing this service. As in other jurisdictions, the Medical Council will give guidance to these doctors about accommodating their objections when women in crisis pregnancy attend them for care.

A variety of GPs have spoken about their willingness to provide abortion healthcare early in crisis pregnancies to women who attend them.

Dr Paul Stewart, Donegal GP, said: “As GPs, we will continue to meet our patients’ needs, including supporting them through crisis pregnancies. When terminations become legal
in Ireland, we can expect between four and six requests per year. We are well able to meet this need and many of us will provide this service with both support and compassion”

Dr Susan Smith, practicing GP and Professor of Primary Care Medicine, said:
“Taking as our starting point women’s healthcare needs we must resource and provide an effective service that integrates General Practice and Obstetric care as required and is informed by international best practice evidence. As a GP practicing in Dublin I look forward to being able to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare to my patients, now that the Eighth Amendment has been repealed by a decisive majority of Irish people.”

Dr Aisling Ní Shúilleabháin GP in Citywest Dublin said: “When it is legal, properly resourced, and guidelines are in place, I will, alongside many colleagues, prescribe early medical abortion medication to my patients, to spare them the added burdens and increased health risks currently caused by traveling out of Ireland. Continuity
of care is a cornerstone of General Practice and I wish to provide comprehensive evidence based healthcare to the women who attend me in crisis pregnancies.”

Dr Marion Dyer, a GP in Blanchardstown, West Dublin, said: “The two medicines contained in the abortion pill – mifepristone and misoprostol are already prescribed regularly in Ireland in some clinical situations. While there will likely need to be some licencing adjustments, these medicines are not new to Irish medical practice. GPs who are willing to provide safe abortion healthcare to their patients in early pregnancy, are well able, with guidelines, resources and training to provide this. Rather than continue to leave Irish women reliant on “the kindness of strangers” many of us wish to provide them with care from their personal doctor at home.”

Saturday 26th May 2018

Doctors welcome overwhelming Yes vote for women’s health in Ireland

Today (26.05.2018) Doctors for Choice Ireland (DfC) welcomes the overwhelming result of a Yes vote in the referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution.

Dr Mary Favier, co-founder and spokesperson for DfC said: “After years of witnessing the harms of the Eighth Amendment and campaigning to have it removed, we are delighted to see this momentous result for Ireland and Irish women. A Yes result may go some way
to repair the hurt and suffering the Eighth Amendment has caused for the estimated 170,000 Irish women and girls that have had to travel for abortions since 1980, and the uncountable number who have taken illegal medication abortion pills bought online; women who the state abandoned: legally, morally and when they most needed healthcare.”

Dr Anna McHugh, spokesperson for DfC added: “DfC want to sincerely thank the women and patients for voicing their stories of how the Eighth Amendment has negatively affected them – they should not have had to do this. We also want to emphasise support for all those women who did not share their story but have been affected. We stand
with all of our patients. We also thank Irish doctors for standing with us – when all of our patients needed us.”

Dr Marion Dyer, spokesperson for DfC continued: “Doctors will continue to care for and support all pregnant women in their surgeries and clinics – whatever their circumstances and whatever their decisions. DfC will also continue to advocate for them.
More than 1,642 doctors have declared their respect and support for pregnant women and their decisions. Ireland has voted to care for all pregnant women equally.”

Dr Tiernan Murray, spokesperson for DfC and Gaeilgeoir concluded: “Ní saoirse go saoirse na mban. Tá na céadta Dochtuirí Teaghlaich ceadaithe anois roghanna mná na
hEireann a chur i bhfeidhm, le seirbhís a bheith saor, sláintiúil, áitiúil agus faoin dlí.”

Wednesday 13th December 2017

Doctors welcome Oireachtas committee vote to stop abandoning Irish women

Doctors for Choice (DfC) has today (13.12.17) welcomed the vote of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, to recommend: a repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the constitution; decriminalisation of women who have abortions and the medical practitioners that provide them; and to allow access to abortion without restriction as to reasons in early pregnancy.

The Committee listened to the many distinguished medical experts, who said that the Eighth Amendment impacts on their ability to care for pregnant women, and that the constitution is no place to regulate healthcare. The strong votes for decriminalisation from the committee, shows their realisation and acknowledgement of the ‘chill factor’ experienced by medical professionals when attempting to provide care to pregnant women.

The committee understood that allowing women to access abortion without restriction as to reasons up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, will account for the majority of women who travel to the UK every year to access abortion care. Many of these women can be cared for with medication in a primary care setting, with a GP prescribing the abortion pill.

As doctors, we want to care for all our patients and help them to make the right decisions that are best in their individual circumstances.

We strongly urge the Government to follow the recommendations of the committee and to urgently set a date for a referendum in early 2018, simply asking the electorate if they wish to repeal the Eighth Amendment from the constitution. The Eighth Amendment is a barrier to good reproductive healthcare for women, and it is time the State cared for the thousands of women who travel to access care every year.

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Thursday 26th October 2017

Statement from Doctors for Choice on the five year anniversary of Savita Halappanavar’s death

As doctors we say never again. As doctors we say not in our name.

Savita Halappanavar died five years ago this week when 17 weeks pregnant. She died as a direct result of being denied a termination of pregnancy – a termination that was medically indicated and requested by her when she knew she was going to have a miscarriage that couldn’t be prevented. This is the blunt and unpalatable truth. If she had been medically managed as she would have been in every other European and developed country she would be alive today and we wouldn’t need to know who she is. Tragically we do, and her family and the Irish people must bear those scars.

Access to abortion is a health issue. The medical profession stands indicted for inactivity while the maternal health of women in Ireland is compromised. The restrictive Eighth Amendment must be repealed and legislation enacted to provide and regulate comprehensive abortion provision in Ireland.

Out of respect for Savita Halappanavar and her family, Doctors for Choice will not participate in “debates” about her death this week. This is a week to remember a vibrant young woman who, with her husband, very much wanted their baby, and who died because of the Eighth Amendment

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