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Hundreds of healthcare workers oppose 'at-home' abortions in Northern Ireland

Hundreds of healthcare workers oppose 'at-home' abortions in Northern Ireland

Unsplash/Michalina

Nearly 300 healthcare workers have signed an open letter to Northern Ireland's health minister expressing their opposition to "at-home" abortions.

The open letter to Robin Swann MLA follows a campaign by abortion advocates calling for the introduction of telemedicine abortion services. 

In England, Scotland and Wales, abortion regulations were relaxed after the first national lockdown earlier this year to allow women to receive both abortion pills in the post following a phone consultation with a doctor. 

The letter to Swann, signed by 277 healthcare workers, calls DIY abortion schemes "unsafe and unacceptable."

Instead of rolling out at-home abortions, the healthcare workers call for an expansion of medical, social and financial support systems to help women facing an unplanned pregnancy. 

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Andrew Cupples, a GP in Northern Ireland and one of the signatories to the letter said, "This is a cynical ideological move to seize ground while the attention of the politicians, health service and population are otherwise occupied with COVID-19.

"This is another retrograde step for the health of women and children, introducing further risks into an already poorly regulated and unwanted system.

"Far from protecting vulnerable women, it opens the door for further coercion and abuse. The notion of properly informed consent, a pillar of good medical care, is thrown out the window.

"Treating patients without proper assessment, for flawed reasons such as ease of access, flies in the face of good medical care.

"Far from empowering women, this move would further empower healthcare workers to engage in the wholesale destruction of the unborn child with greater ease and efficiency, to the distress of many of their patients and colleagues."

The introduction of DIY abortions contradicts the findings of a recent ComRes poll in which over three-quarters of women (77%) said that doctors should be required to verify in person that a woman is seeking an abortion and not experiencing coercion. 

further poll found that the vast majority of women (92%) believe that a woman requesting an abortion should be seen in person by a qualified doctor.

Hannah Chapman, another GP in Northern Ireland who signed the petition said, "The basic standard of care I would expect for women who find themselves faced with unplanned pregnancy starts with a full physical and emotional assessment, and ends with access to a full range of options and support.

"At a time when a woman may already feel vulnerable and isolated, remote assessment and 'at home' abortion cannot offer this care.

"As detailed it exposes women to significant physical risk whilst potentially denying her ongoing support. On top of these basic risks, the potential for pills to be obtained with inaccurate details, or under coercion, is frightening."

Originally published at Christian Today 

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