27th March 2020 “Harris proposal for ‘home abortions’ without physical consultation will “dramatically increase risks to women” says PLC

Lack of communication from Minister about his proposal “wholly unacceptable” – Mulroy

Minister for Health Simon Harris told the Dáil last night that he will move to revise the existing ‘Model of Care’ which regulates and describes the conditions under which a medical practitioner may certify an abortion.

Minister Harris made his remarks while rejecting amendments from Opposition TDs to the COVID-19 related Emergency Measures Bill, which were along the same lines to what the Minister himself proposed, permitting ‘home abortions’ without any physical consultation between the woman and prescribing doctor.

Responding to the Minister’s dramatic announcement, Pro Life Campaign spokesperson Eilís Mulroy said:

“It is wholly unacceptable the way Minister Harris slipped in his proposed changes to the Model of Care without any broad or prior consultation. An almost identical proposal to what he presented was roundly rejected earlier this week in Westminster parliament out of concern for the adverse effect it could have on the welfare and safety of women. It was pointed out in that wide-ranging debate that at a minimum before any abortion was signed off on, there should be at least one face to face consultation between the woman and her doctor to ensure there were no issues that could endanger the woman’s health or life.

“Without any reference to concerns like these, Minister Harris told the Dáil last night that for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, he is satisfied that the examination of the woman prior to any abortion as set out in Section 12 of the abortion Act could be ‘carried out by other means, for example, by telemedicine or video conference.’”

Ms Mulroy posed the question:

“How can the doctor in such a situation assess the gestational stage of the pregnancy over a conference 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.

“We call on the Minister to rethink his proposal. At a time when our country should be working as one to protect and defend every human life at every stage of development rather than introducing measures that jeopardise women’s health and will inevitably lead to a further loss of life.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything as a society, surely it is that every human life is fragile and inherently precious and deserving of every possible protection”, Ms. Mulroy concluded.

ENDS