08.04.2020: Health Minister’s new guidelines permitting ‘home abortions’ is a “reckless move” says PLC

Health Minister Simon Harris has approved new guidelines to allow home abortions to take place without the pregnant woman having to make two visits to her GP beforehand, as had been the case under the ‘model of care’ guidelines which regulate and describe the conditions under which a medical practitioner may certify an abortion.

Instead of face to face meetings with their GP, women seeking abortions will instead consult with their GPs on the phone or via video call. Only in exceptional circumstances will the doctor meet directly with the woman as part of the consultation. The Department of Health has indicated that the new changes to the model of care guidelines will stay in place for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Responding to the new Department of Health guidelines, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:

“It is utterly reckless that Simon Harris has approved these new guidelines. When ushering in his new abortion law in 2018, he repeatedly gave assurances about how safe his new abortion law would be for women, citing the two visits that the pregnant woman would have to make to her GP before any abortion took place. But in the blink of an eye, the Minister has done a complete about turn in order to facilitate abortions taking place during the Covid-19 lockdown. Abortion is never safe for the baby as it directly ends his or her life, but now we have a situation where women’s lives are also being put at risk.

“How can the doctor assess the gestational stage of the pregnancy over a video call or identify an ectopic pregnancy or some other underlying medical condition the woman may have? The Taoiseach and Minister for Health are on the public record from 2018 highlighting the serious risks posed to women’s health by self-administering abortion pills without proper medical consultation. How can they stand over their new position? It is horrifying enough that unborn babies will lose their lives because of this latest move by the Minister but it is only compounded by the fact that it will dramatically increase the risk to the lives of pregnant women.

“At a time when our country should be working as one to protect and defend every human life at every stage of development, we have government ministers wasting precious time in order to facilitate the ending of human life through abortion. It is a very sad reflection on the priorities of some of our leaders how little regard they show towards innocent defenceless human beings”, Ms. Mulroy concluded.

ENDS